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Musical organizes a by-donation drive

Brendan Sheehan l Associate Editor

An average of 28% of high school and college students experience some form of domestic violence, according to Domestic Violence Intervention (DVI) of Lebanon County.

Inspired by content within the musical, the cast of “Oliver!” is organizing a by-donation drive for the Lebanon County DVI.

The collection, spear-headed by senior cast member Liz Wilson will donate items from a “needs” list released by the DVI. The donations of cast members along with showtime attendees will all contribute to the drive.

Wilson plans to have donation bins outside of the auditorium for items such as children’s clothing, feminine care products and nonperishable food items for community members to contribute to the cause.

“It’s nice to be able to back up a cause that the show highlights,” said Wilson.

“Oliver!” includes an abusive relationship between characters Nancy, who is played by freshman Paige Cecil, and Bill Sikes, who is played by senior Josh Trovinger, in Nancy’s torn love between Oliver Twist and Sikes. The drive hopes to shed light on the seriousness of domestic violence and its application to the real world.

“The reason I brought the idea up during our first project was to make sure we treat the topic with respect - so it’s not something flippant that we’re doing,” said director Tara Pohlkotte. “I wanted to honor the characters. Even if the characters aren’t real, the story is real, and it conveys the real human condition.”

Wilson applied her passion for advocacy with her belief the domestic violence awareness should be practiced everywhere, especially at the high school.

“It’s important because I think everyone at least knows one person who has undergone domestic violence, especially at our age,” said Wilson. “At the end of the day, we don’t want anyone to be hurt by someone they love, but it happens. It is important to help other people who go through that.”

Cast members are encouraged to donate at least one item to the drive.

“We always raise money for the show, which is awesome, but we should also be able to raise something for a different cause,” said Wilson.

With the openness of the cast and their ability to make connections to their community, Pohlkotte is confident that there will be more outreach in future productions.

“The arts are that call to humanity,” said Pohlkotte. “We are part of a community, and it is important that we participate in that community.”

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