Norma Brink has embraced the theatre with a passion for over 50 years bringing pleasure, laughter, and tears to thousands of people. She has played over 100 leading roles in productions such as Mame, Gypsy, Equus, and Come Back Little Sheba, performed on community and professional stages. She has acted in industrial films and TV & radio commercials. She was Co-Chair of the 1983 Arcs Festival. She has conducted numerous workshops and seminars in theatre and communication skills to students of all ages. But her passion has gone far beyond her fine acting. She has worked in every capacity, including usher and board member of Civic and Circle Theatres. In fact, it was her enthusiasm and dedication to the theatre, which enabled a fledgling Circle Theatre to grow and to entertain.
A Grand Rapids native, Norma worked her way through college, married and became active in community theatre. Her family grew to include three children. Then Norma became a single mother and went back to teaching for 17 years, meanwhile earning a Master’s from Western Michigan University. The next 12 years she was principal of Ottawa Elementary School.
But she was not content with raising a family, teaching or guiding a school. She shared her passion with her students who learned to love the theatre from her. She has been recognized for her contributions to the arts with the James Mitchell Award for service to the theatre, 1970; Greater Grand Rapids Arts Council Award, 1985; the first Norma S. Brink award, Circle Theatre, 1986; and the Legacy Award, Women’s History Council, 1997. In addition she has been a devoted volunteer for the American Cancer Society, a docent at the Frederik Meijer Gardens, and a Board member of the Human Society.
“Theatre is my passion, my balance in life,” Norma said with fervor. “Theatre is important because it’s somed1ing we can enjoy all our lives as a spectator or as a participant. It gives us a great appreciation for different levels of our society, of different cultures. It makes us more interesting. It gives us a spark, an energy, sometimes even a recognition within ourselves unlike any other art. If you have a creative force of any kind in your life, use it.”