March 09, 2006

Partnership underwriting 50 theater tickets

by Vincent Rhomberg

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Old National Bank is making it possible for local students to see the Southern Illinois University Carbondale theater department's upcoming production of August Wilson's "Fences."

Old National Bank is partnering with the theater department and African Theater Lab, an SIUC student organization, to underwrite the cost of 50 tickets to the performances. The tickets will be distributed to students who most likely would not otherwise attend a performance through the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale, Masonic Children's Home in Murphysboro, the Trico school district and Carbondale Community High School.

Wilson, who died last fall, is one of the great African-American playwrights of the last century. His plays chronicle the changing face of African-Americans in society during the 20th century. "Fences," which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987, gives insight into African-Americans caught in the struggle and discrimination of the early 1960s.

Melissa Etherton, Old National Bank Carbondale branch manager, said she is delighted with the partnership.

"We get lots of requests for support," she said. "We decided to support this one because the funds go directly back into the local community. That's what Old National is all about – community."

"Fences" plays Thursday, March 23, through Sunday, March 26, at McLeod Theater, located in the Communications Building on the SIUC campus. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. March 23-25 and at 2 p.m. March 26. There will be a pre-show lecture about the play and the playwright at 1:30 p.m. March 26 in the Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theater, also located in the Communications Building.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $6 for students and children and can be obtained by calling the theater department box office at 618/453-3001 between noon and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students interested in the free tickets may contact the publicity office of the theater department at 618/453-7589.

Coordinating and expanding major cultural outreach programs is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

(Caption: Making it possible – Cara Harper, president of the African Theater Lab at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and Melissa Etherton, manager of the Carbondale Branch of Old National Bank show tickets for the SlUC Theater Department’s production of “Fences.” The bank is paying for 50 tickets, which will be provided to students to see the play.)