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October 20, 2014 : Wagner Theatre Fundraising Campaign Underway
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager


Lancaster – The productions put on by the Ohio University Lancaster Theatre program in the Wagner Theatre are getting high praise around the region. However, with some improvements to the theatre, the productions could be taken to the next level.
“We’ve been able to work with what we have thus far,” said OUL Theatre Director Victor Jones. “But, in the theatre, the lighting and the acoustics are from the late 1960s and it’s simply worn out.  We need to fix this in order to move the program forward.”eman pic
That’s why the campus has launched “The Wagner Theatre Improvement Campaign.”  The fundraising effort started in July and aims to raise $250,000 to upgrade the 475-seat theatre. The theatre is named in memory of Professor Jeffrey Wagner and has a rich history of hosting student productions, speakers, musicians and children’s performances.
“The sound is the biggest issue for those who attend our theatre performances. We have the talent.  We have the audience,” said OUL Development Director Mandi Custer. “Now it’s time to get the theatre up to a point where people can be entertained and hear what is going on clearly.”
“New equipment is going to affect what you hear and what you see with updated lighting technology and installing acoustical panels on the wall,” said Jones. “Once these changes are implemented people will see a big difference when attending events in the theatre.”  The acoustical panels will help resolve sound issues in the room as the sound bounces from wall to wall, and a form of echo muddles sound making, it hard to hear.
Many different organizations on campus and in the community use the Wagner Theatre. Of particular note:
  • Since 2010, OUL students have presented 17 plays under Jones’ direction.
  • The Lancaster Festival and OUL have partnered to present the Covered Bridge Music Series featuring award-winning singer/songwriters.
  • The Lancaster Arts and Civic Club, now in its 50th year, offers an annual children’s theatre production.
  • The Lancaster Men’s Chorus has been performing their annual Ham and Eggs production for 43 years.
  • The Lancaster Eagle Gazette host its regional annual spelling bee
  • The OUL Cultural Events and Diversity Committees have hosted internationally renowned speakers on bullying and civil rights history.
“We’re asking people to give what they can to this fundraising effort,” said Custer.   “The arts are a major piece of the educational environment at OUL and giving to this project fosters the creative endeavors of our students and many community partners.”
For more information on “The Wagner Theatre Improvement Campaign,” contact Custer at 740.654.6711 ext. 234 or email her at