The Marquis Players’ fundraising total reaches $6,636: proceeds to be donated

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The Marquis Players raised over $2,000 more than last year’s fundraising total of $4,500. (Photo by Elle Cox ’21)

Mario Sanchez Castillo

The Marquis Players have raised $6,636 for charity this year, which is the most they have in a decade, according to the student-led theatre organization’s leadership.

This fundraising total was made possible through fundraising events and ticket sales to the group’s recent performances of “Heathers: the Musical,” according to Vice President Anna Levy ’19. The group’s fundraising figure is up over $2,000 from last year’s total of $4,500.

“We did a lot of pushing for our fundraising this year, which is something that in my four years we haven’t done before,” Levy said. 

Marquis Players donated their proceeds to five groups, including local organizations Third Street Alliance for Women & Children, Safe Harbor and Dan P. O’Neil ‘06 Memorial Fund. The Players also chose to donate to two other groups which “coincided directly” with the themes of suicide and bullying of “Heathers”—the Lafayette College Counseling Center and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

In the musical, protagonists J.D. and Veronica embark on a dark journey staging the murders of fellow students as suicides, and grapple with other issues of relationship violence, bullying and more along the way.

“We wanted to pick beneficiaries that kind of matched [some of the] issues that it tackles,” President Amanda Baildon ’19 said.

According to Director Anna Pohoryles ’19, the funds were distributed equally between organizations.

The Marquis Players have consistently made an effort to donate to the Easton community and consider themselves a “community service organization as much as a theatre organization,” Pohoryles said.

However, “I think in years past the leadership kind of got a little bit side tracked and it became a lot more about the theater portion than about the community service portion and helping organizations in Easton,” Pohoryles said. “So I think this year…we wanted to make sure that we weren’t losing our connection to why we were founded and what our purpose was.” 

According to Pohoryles, the Marquis Players organized multiple food related fundraisers throughout the year, selling slushies, cookies and quesadillas at individual fundraisers.

Levy said that the organization started the semester with the mindset that they were an organization that wanted to “help out the community.”

We really worked hard as an organization to plan these fundraising events and to start advertising the fact that we’re a non-profit organization, we’re going to be donating our proceeds,” she said. “This is who we are, we’re putting our show, we love theatre, and this is the place to learn but we also want to help out our community.

Levy, whose responsibility was to sell advertisements in the “Heathers” program and design it, said that the organization made about $500 from advertisements. From selling $1 boosters where alumni, friends, families and organizations could send a message to the cast and crew, the group raised about $100.

“This was the biggest program, at least since the time I’ve been here,” she said. 

In addition Marquis Players’ commitment to fundraising, Pohoryles said that another one of the reasons why “Heathers” might have received the amount of support it did from the audience was because the Marquis Players “did a good job of picking a show [that] college students would want to see and be excited about seeing.”

“We wanted to find a show that had…more depth, but at the same time would be more appealing to our audience because even though we are open to the [whole] community, most of the people that see our shows are students,” she added. 

Due to the heavy topics that “Heathers” touches on, the Marquis Players wanted to prepare the actors, crew members and audience with the themes.

“We had workshops for the cast and the crew about the topic and…opened up the dialogue for it to be something that we weren’t just going to talk about during rehearsal and not talk about [again],” Pohoryles said. 

According to Levy, the Marquis Players partnered with Pards Against Sexual Assault (PASA) and LiveWell in order to check in with each other and discuss the how everyone involved dealt with the themes.

“Everyone was kind of dealing with various different types of guilt or emotions…about processing the themes on the show and it was a really good way to kind of come together and express that,” she said, “and get a new sense of camaraderie and comfort about [how], ‘We’re doing this…to bring awareness and [educate] people on these issues through a really awesome piece of art.'”

After the show on Thursday, there was a talk back in which the cast, crew of “Heathers,” along with the audience discussed the issues that were touched on in the play.