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Group raised more than $7,000 in 2023 for Third Street Alliance for Women and Children
By Kelly Huth
For students who join the Marquis Players, it’s not just a chance to perform and stay active in theater. It’s an opportunity to make a difference in the Easton community.
Each year the student-led philanthropic theater group selects a Lehigh Valley nonprofit, and plans a series of fundraisers and performances with profits from their shows earmarked for the selected organization. After the curtain closed on the 2022-23 musical Footloose, the Marquis Players presented a check for $7,058 to Third Street Alliance for Women and Children, a nonprofit organization that provides temporary housing and assistance for women and children.
Over the last 20 years, the Marquis Players have raised over $96,000 for Easton-area organizations.
“This group has given me such valuable experience and has been impactful,” says Alex Thurtle ’24, incoming president for the 2023-24 academic year.
Thurtle explains that while many members join because of an interest in performing or theater, others are drawn to the philanthropic mission of the Marquis Players.
Every member is required to participate in one of the group’s fundraisers. Traditionally the group hosts a fall showcase, a Heart for the Arts cabaret-style performance in the winter, and a spring musical. In 2022-23, the Marquis Players also raised funds through a quesadilla night and organized a shoe drive for Third Street Alliance.
In spring 2022, the group raised $6,677 for the Dan O’Neil ’06 Memorial Fund and the Boys and Girls Club of Easton. Thurtle explains the fund—named in honor of a former Marquis Player—supports high school seniors in the Lehigh Valley who are interested in engineering and the arts.
The Marquis Players performance group was originally known as the Chapel Players, and performed in Colton Chapel. These days the group’s spring musical is performed on stage at Williams Center for the Arts. Thurtle says the arts staff has been great partners in helping the Marquis Players carve out time to perform on stage.
“We are a fully student-led organization,” Thurtle says. “I’m in awe that students of all different majors come together to put on these shows. For me, it’s been a home away from home.”
The experience also has inspired her to explore a career in arts administration after graduation. Thurtle joined Marquis Players her first year at Lafayette and says it’s where she’s met her closest friends, including Cormac Hurley ’24. Hurley, a philosophy and theater major, also joined his first year and now will serve as the group’s director his senior year.
“For me, it was the first thing I did on campus, my first chance to meet people,” Hurley says. He also plans to pursue a career in theater following graduation.
Hurley says students who wish to join the group will find Marquis Players at the Student Involvement Fair in the fall.
Hurley’s not revealing the spring show just yet, but he says it’s always a musical. “We look for what will bring in a crowd, what has a good story that we can get the rights to, and shows that have a large cast so that we can include more people.”