By Cameron Siefkes
For 77 years the Campus Players have produced and performed A.M. Buckton’s Christmas play “Eagerheart.” This year the group will not only perform the show on campus, but also in churches in Winfield and surrounding areas and in England.
Two years ago, after the 75th anniversary of the first production of “Eagerheart,” Roger Moon, director of theatre program, said he received an e-mail from The Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England due to all of the publicity the show had received. “The woman who contacted me was doing the history of The Chalice Well because this year is the celebration of the 50th anniversary of it being on the English national trust, which means it’s a national historic location,” said Moon.
Moon had been doing research on the show as well because the original scripts had been lost in the fire which damaged Christy. “It was funny they communicated with me because for almost 20 years the scripts were lost. Helen Graham typed it up and copied it by memory, said Moon.” “So, nobody knew anything about the play. I tried to find out anything I could about it and could find nothing.”
So, the contact Moon had with the people of The Chalice Well is how the idea of the tour was formed.
Before the group departs for their tour, they will give two performances on campus and in six churches in and surrounding Winfield. They had received many requests to perform in different congregations. Moon saw that as an opportunity to see what putting on a show in an unfamiliar space of would be like. “After having adapted from everything here we will know how to do it. We’ve asked that we have at least one hour between arrival and performance,” said Moon.
Brett Smith, philosophy & religious studies senior, is also confident in their ability to adapt the show to a different environment. “We are getting lots of practice here in the states in area churches, so by the time we get it across the Atlantic, it will be ready to go,” said Smith.
After a short break the group of 16 will depart for England on Christmas Day. While there the small cast will perform “Eagerheart” in Glastonbury, Oxford, Bath and the Canterbury and Dover area. The minimal sized group of actors will double as both the cast and crew. They will travel with only the necessary items needed to put on the performances.
The students are looking forward to the reactions of their audiences. Elizabeth Higbee, theatre senior, said, “I think the audiences will appreciate the performances and like them, but in The Chalice Well where it was originally done will be the best because of the historical connection.”
While in England, they will also be given other educational and sightseeing opportunities. Higbee said, “I love English history so I am most looking forward to seeing the Tower of London and Stonehenge.”
Smith said, “I’m excited to see the British Museum. It has so much history collected on one place, and the amount of artwork they have in the building is just staggering. I’m also really looking forward to seeing the cliffs of Dover.”
In order to get this experience each person going on the trip had to raise $3000. Moon said funds will only come from the efforts of the students and people who are willing to help. Anyone willing can make donations, give to the free-will offering in any of the performances, or can purchase the 75th anniversary production on DVD.
Cameron Siefkes is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.