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Fringe, Rotary move to Fox Pavilion pays off

By ALICIA J. COVERDALE

Special to The Hays Daily News

On Feb. 2, the Hays Rotary Club partnered with the Fort Hays State University Fringe Theatre Company for a benefit fundraiser at Fox Pavilion that surpassed expectations.

The Fringe Theatre Company performed "The Mousetrap," a murder mystery play originally written as a novel by Agatha Christie. The play is "the most performed in modern history" and is celebrating the 65th anniversary of its initial opening in London, according to Lydia Fuqua, president of Fringe Theatre and a senior at FHSU.

Tickets were $35 for dinner and the performance. The cast included six students, two community members and two student directors. It took approximately five weeks of preparation, said Fuqua, one of the directors.

The group has performed a murder mystery dinner event for the past four years, usually staged at FHSU's Memorial Union. There, the average attendance was 100 to 150, Fuqua said. This year, however, the event drew a much higher turnout of approximately 250 audience members, she added.

Brittany Howell, president of the Hays Rotary Club, called the first-time partnership a success.

"We are going to look at doing it again," Howell said, adding eliminating background noise and enhancing audio are things they want to work on in the future.

The money raised, which Howell did not disclose, will go into the Rotary Club's annual service projects, such as shelter box survival kits, painting houses with FHSU's Tigers in Service, local high school scholarships, donating books to Washington Elementary School and donations to eradicate polio.

A share of the profits, $500, also will go to the Fringe Theatre Company, "which we're thrilled about. We didn't expect anything," Fuqua said.

Fuqua said that the money given to Fringe Theatre will be used for the group's service projects as well as helping with costs for future productions, including the on-campus Halloween tour, one of the group's main annual events.

Alicia J. Coverdale, Holton senior, is a student a Fort Hays State University, majoring in Communication Studies, with an emphasis in advertising.