MACEDONIA, Ohio — Julia Dulaney knew she wanted to be an actor at seven-years-old, but it wasn’t until she stepped on the stage at Nordonia High School that she was able to build self-confidence and control her anxiety.
“It’s always just been like my safe place to come to these past four years,” Dulaney said. “I don’t think I’d be the same person that I am now and I don’t think I’d have a great high school experience that I did if I didn’t have this drama club.”
The stage is also where Elizabeth Waight found purpose. Her friends convinced her to audition for the club last year.
“I’ve always loved to dance, I’ve always loved to act and I’ve always loved to sing so I got on stage and it just felt really right for me,” she said.
But that stage was taken away last school year. Two weeks before they were set to perform their spring Seussical, the show was put on hold and the Nordonia Drama Club never got a call back.
“It was my first year acting in the program. It was going to be my first time singing in front of my family and we were sad,” Waight said.
The drama club students only get to perform two plays a year and it’s not cheap. Director Chris Simmons says it costs about $40,000 to pull it all off. He says that’s usually covered through its musical ticket sales and summer camp for third to eighth graders, but coronavirus shut all of that down.
“The district pays my stipend but other than that the drama club pays for all of our costumes, the sets, the rights to the shows we produce,” Simmons explained.
Simmons says ticket sales from last year are holding them over and allowing them to perform in October, but it’s not enough for future shows. So now, students are hoping a crowdfunding campaign will keep the curtain from closing on their program.
“Every year there’s always expenses that pop up that kind of fall on me as like with any teacher or coach kind of position, but we’ve been every fortunate over the last couple of year up until this year that the dram club has been doing fairly well and able to cover everything,” Simmons said. “We may have to look into some of budgeting and some of the stuff and make some cuts here and there but we’re still going to do what can to make sure the kids have a good year.”
Returning to the stage was exciting, but Dulaney hopes the lights won’t fade to black anytime soon.
“It’s my senior year you know I want to get up there and perform.”
Simmons says they are hoping to receive costumes and production donations to help save on expenses. He says monetary donations are welcomed as well through a Go Fund Me page. For more information on how to help email Nordoniadrama@gmail.com.