The Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara recognized the Marjorie Luke Theatre with its first Imagine a World Award on Saturday for its contribution in creating a respectful and inclusive environment for people with developmental disabilities.

The Alpha Resource Center will give Imagine a World Awards to Girsh Park and two other local businesses at 10 a.m. Saturday at the opening ceremony of the California Lemon Festival.

The Marjorie Luke Theatre, with the support of the Dreier Family Rent Subsidy Fund, made dreams come true four years ago when Alpha’s performing-arts troupe moved its annual musical theater production from Alpha’s campus to the Marjorie Luke.

Alpha participants had always wanted to experience the excitement of a big stage with lights, a curtain and a large audience. As Paul Eriksen, a premier actor and comedian in Alpha’s troupe, said to Rod Lathim of the Marjorie Luke: “Thanks for the electrifying experience of being on your stage. Without you, we’d still be performing on that rinky dink stage at Alpha!”

Kim Olson, executive director of Alpha, said: “We recognize how far we’ve come and are grateful for businesses and individuals that make an inclusive environment possible. Ultimately, we hope that someday the label of developmental disability will have no greater influence on the relationship among people than identifying someone having blue eyes or curly hair. It is in the spirit of this vision that Alpha has launched the Imagine a World Award.”

Brynn Crowe, co-chair of the board of directors of the Marjorie Luke, and Lathim, board member and well-known advocate for people with special needs, were present to accept the inaugural award.

“When we envisioned the Marjorie Luke Theatre, we imagined a community theater, one where families in our community would gather,” Lathim said. “We look forward all year to having you folks here. You are family. You are the people. Welcome home!”

— Marisa Bourke is the outreach coordinator for Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara.