Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian hills lies Elkins, West Virginia, a small town of just 7,000 people. With just over 800 students, Elkins High School is a small school, but it is the largest school in the largest county in the state. This rural school has become a magnet for students in the area interested in pursuing the arts, and has a vibrant fine and performing arts program, including the only full theatre program in the area. Students in the our theatre classes, our drama club, and our troupe of the International Thespian Society act in, design, direct, manage, and produce several productions each year, including a full length play each fall, a full length musical each spring, an interactive murder mystery event, a student-directed play, and a competition play. Several students also compete in individual events at our state Thespian festival, and the program is growing in participation, involvement, and number of productions. All of this on a subsistence budget.
The county school system provides no money to the school for the use of the theatre program, so all of the funding for our productions comes from ticket sales, fundraising by the students, and private donations. While the lack of funding has forced us to be inventive and resourceful with sets and costumes, it has worked fairly well for the payment of rights and royalties, but most of our equipment, including most of our lighting, is more than twenty years old and in a state of disrepair, and most of our tools for set construction are personal tools brought from home.
Your donation would allow us to update our equipment and tools and provide a better experience for students interested in pursuing technical theatre in college or as a career. In addition, donations would allow us to put more money into costuming and advertising for this year’s musical, creating a more spectacular production and attracting more public interest in our shows, interest that could be tapped into to appeal for more donations and assistance in producing next year’s events. Our student actors and technicians work hard to share their love of theatre with the community, and they deserve the best tools, materials, and the biggest audiences we can manage. Your kindness would allow us to provide in all of these areas.