Abe Daniels who is not only officiant, owner, spiritual guide, but also actor, director and producer was honored this past Sunday. Abe has always had a love of theater. Ever since high school when he was in his first play, he has had a deep passion for the theatre. He went on after graduation to study drama in college, he won a scholarship to attend otherwise he would not have been able to afford to go to college. He moved on to do several stage projects, acting classes and even appearing in the movie Hook.
Moving to Joshua Tree and constructing the medicine wheel has always been a desire for him but it is the theatre that feeds his soul. Shortly after setting the wheel in motion he started doing plays at the Groves Cabin Theater. The theater is basically a black box that sits 23 people. It was the challenge and intimacy of putting on plays in such a small venue that drew him to it. The Groves Cabin Theater has been an icon in the morongo valley for over 30 years. When it began to show its age, Abe took up the call to renovate it. He volunteered his own money, blood, sweat and tears for that tiny theater. During the offseason, he worked on moving the tech room from the stage to the back of the audience. Abe along with his brother and other volunteers, painted and sanded and rebuilt the interior. They added new roofing, chairs, flooring, walls on the stage, and electrical. Abe then organized a fundraiser using the website: go fund me. He used the funds from the first round to pay for the upgrades. Then the second round went to cover the cost of a covered patio to protect the patrons from the weather.
At this year's Desert Theatre League Awards, Abe took home not only two awards for Outstanding Production in one acts and Outstanding Director in one acts with first time actor Kevin Hayles winning Outstanding Lead Actor in one acts but also the Bill Kuhlman Award. The award is given to those individuals who have gone out of their way for the benefit of the theatre community. Recipients of this award are generals those that work tirelessly behind the scenes and don't get the applause and recognition those on the stage get.
We can see clearly how deserving Abe is of this award. During his acceptance speech he thanked all of those that helped renovate and donate to the cause. He stated that he did this not for himself but for Joy, the owner of the theater and the patrons. He wanted them to have a place where they can fall in love with theatre just as he did.
What's in the future for Abe?? Well he plans on bringing the art of storytelling to the medicine wheel. He plans on having shows and readings at the medicine wheel that focus on native american themes. His vision is to provide a cultural center where visitors can come and experience the spirituality of the native Americans.