TRF Through the Years

April 24, 2020

#Entertainment

#Experiences and Stories

By Jeff Baldwin, TRF Entertainment Director


In preparation for our 50th anniversary, the task of organizing and categorizing the photo archive has fallen to me, having been around the TRF offices for the longest, over forty years.

At first, I thought - No Problem! I have been the graphic artist for more than 20 years and a performer for nearly two decades. I thought, this will be easy. I was mistaken.

When I first started working full time for TRF in 1996, photos were not in a digital format like they are now. When I started, programs were still literally being cut and pasted together, and then photographed. The first TRF program I put together, had to be written to three Jaz drives. Jaz drives were the only thing large enough to hold the digital files of the day. Today I simply upload to a cloud.

Back then, we were still using film. In fact, film companies were proud sponsors, and sponsored a large photo contest each year. When the TRF offices closed in March, and my office moved to my garage to work from home, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to digitize all those old photos.

Thousands of photos. Some have a date, most have none. I have found myself spending hours looking at old TRF photos and trying to date them. Either from the surroundings, or by the people I may recognize. Photos of dear friends who are no longer with us. Photos of friends who have not been seen in years. Photos of children, who are now grown. Photos that show how much TRF has changed over the years, like photos of the old Player's Podium, or Gypsy Camp, Battle Mound, and the Robin Hood Stage.

And of course, I have come across several pictures of myself.

One of my favorite pictures is of the Globe Stage taken the second year of TRF. I am not 100% certain of it, but there are two little boys in the front row watching the show. I believe the boy on the left is me. The boy to my right - my oldest friend Dane Bennett. who some of you know as Captain Basil Drake of the Pride O' Bedlam Pirates. I spent my first magical day there with my 8th grade drama class. Obviously that day had a huge impact on both of our lives.

Photos of old girl friends, and my ex-wife. Photos of my wife Brandi, long before we were married. Photos of current performers, looking completely different. Like Adrian Walter of Tartanic, as Guy of Gisborn, then as Robin Hood, and now as the Renfest equivalent to a rock star. Photos of Sholo the Nubian, never changing, but aging like a fine wine. Ken Knezick takes a journey within the archives of TRF. Watching the journey Greg Taylor has taken. Martha Gay, Jim Lillquist, Jim Hancock, Diane Linn and so many more. Their journey at TRF, told in photos over the decades.

In Shakespeare's "As You Like It" there is a monologue that is known mostly for the quote "All the world's a stage" in it, Jacques speaks of the seven ages of man. That one man will play many parts in his lifetime. Infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon, and old man. Having spent the majority off my life working at TRF I see this, played out in photos of myself, and the photos of many others who have made their entrance, and continue to tread the boards of TRF.