O’Donnell creates campus musical theatre company

By Allison Mongan


The University community will have two additional musicals every semester, thanks to the new student organization Campus Productions. The four added productions will be small cast musicals that showcase between one and eleven actors, as well as musicians and directors.

The organization was started by Addison O’Donnell ’14, who arrived on campus last fall and shortly thereafter began what has been called an “arts revolution.” His idea for Campus Productions stemmed from his passion for theatre and from his past experience directing musicals. The process to create the new organization took eight months.

“I want to be a director. I was one before arriving at Bucknell and it’s my goal to be one after,” O’Donnell said. He is also driven by the goal of tying acting, singing, directing and producing all together into something bigger.

Currently the theatre, dance and music departments put on a large cast musical every other spring.

Campus Productions aspires to be a fully student-run organization.

“It will be professionally done in every way, shape and form, but will be able to have all student input,” O’Donnell said.

Students will choose which shows to put on and have a say in how the production will be run. This power also entails the business side. Students will have to budget the shows and want accounting and management majors to become involved. Since Campus Productions intends to have students become the brains of the operations and wants it to be cross-disciplinary, it is seeking all types of majors to become involved and give their input.

Connecting the University to the surrounding Lewisburg community and improving “town and gown” relations has been a goal that the campus has been working towards. O’Donnell hopes Campus Productions will add to the relationship and help it become stronger.

“I see it as a large creative, collaborative element,” he said.

Shows will be held at the renovated Campus Theatre on Market Street that became a part of the University last semester. These renovations include additional theatrical lighting, an upgraded sound system, a curtain and a retractable screen that will allow for the stage to be a live theatre venue.

“These renovations will expand the basic use of the Theatre as a venue to accommodate small live performances such as the ones planned by Campus Productions,” said Ellen Flacker-Darer, Executive Director of the Campus Theatre.

The Campus Theatre is working towards involving the Lewisburg High School students. Campus Productions, in keeping with this, wants to have high school students become involved through an internship-like program which would allow them to shadow directors and actors and maybe even perform in shows.

Donations from alumni have been a good starting point for Campus Productions. They are also hoping to be approved for different grants so that they can really get going. Through various interest meetings, Campus Productions has been able to attract many students.

“There’s been interest sessions which had a fair turnout, I’ve been approached by students and a couple of professors too,” Ethan Van Buskirk ’13 said. The Residential Colleges, especially the Arts College, have expressed interest and see this as a good way to increase vertical involvement with their alumni. Now, as they say at Campus Productions “it’s on.”

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