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January 08, 2015 : Community Members and Organizations Give to Wagner Theatre Fundraising Effort
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager
Lancaster –We’re more than halfway there! $142,000 has been raised thus far during the “The Wagner Theatre Improvement Campaign.”  The fundraising effort started in July, 2014 and aims to raise $250,000 to upgrade the 475-seat theatre.  The theatre, named in memory of Professor Jeffrey Wagner, was built in the 1960’s and needs to be updated.
“We are thrilled with the gifts that have come into ‘The Wagner Theatre Improvement Campaign’ so far,” said Ohio University Lancaster Dean Dr. Jim Smith. “This theatre and the opportunity it provides for arts and cultural events in Fairfield County is something this community truly values.”
Gifts made to the campaign so far include:
  • Major gift from the Martens Fund of $50,000
  • The following people/companies have given $10,000 to $15,000 – Standing Stone Bank, Fairfield National Bank, a private donor
  • The following people/companies have given $5,000 – Bob Wolfinger, Steve and Lisa Wells, and John and Marilyn Sweyer
  • The Cinderella fundraiser raised $6,500
  • Many have given $1,000 and many have given between $50 and $500
The theatre renovation plans include updating the lighting, sound system and expanding the size of the stage. 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 Victor 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.
“The support so far for the Wagner Theatre renovation is wonderful,” said OUL Development Director Mandi 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.”
The fundraising effort will end in July, 2015. For more information on “The Wagner Theatre Improvement Campaign,” contact Custer at 740.654.6711 ext. 234 or email her at