Thespians host murder mystery fundraiser

Thespians host murder mystery fundraiser

Matt Olson, Reporter

The thespian troupe, as well as drama teacher Jessica Heidrick have put together an interactive murder mystery fundraiser as a unique, COVID-safe way to raise funds. Beginning Jan. 22, participants were delivered a box of “clues,” and also given access to digital files including videos of security footage, interviews, and other information to help with the task of finding out who the murderer is. 

“The idea was mine,” Heidrick said. “I’ve written and performed in quite a few murder mystery fundraisers, and I thought it was a good way to follow remote guidelines and keep everyone safe while still fundraising and giving the students something to perform in.”

The fundraising has gone on for several weeks through social media posts and mentions throughout the community, but the actual event only lasts for one night. Orders began in the first week of January with a sign-up deadline of Jan. 15, and tickets cost 25 dollars.

“We deliver the clues Jan. 22, but you can solve it whenever you have time after that,” Heidrick said. “It’ll take about an evening. Think of it like a family game night.”

This is the first year that the drama department has facilitated a fundraiser of this kind, but it hopefully will not be the last. Heidrick hopes for this fundraiser to be a yearly tradition, as it has been a new and exciting experience for the students involved. The funds raised from Murder in a Box will go to the thespians in the drama department in order for them to pursue theater during high school, as well as funds for scholarships and other future academic opportunities. The donations also provide a budget for the live performances they hold for the community.

“The funds go to our school thespian troupe, which is spent on seeing live shows, professional speakers, field trips, scholarships to festivals, and many other things,” Heidrick said. 

In order to make the fundraiser worthwhile, the participants have been planning and practicing in preparation for it for roughly two weeks. This involved assigning parts, designing costumes, and rehearsing their roles.

We had a meeting where we decided on each person’s role [whether that be their] motive, connections with others, and costumes and such,” sophomore Taylor Redington said. “When it came to recording we would have a general idea on what we would talk about but a decent amount of it was improv.”

Even for the students involved with the fundraiser, there is an aspect of mystery. They know the objective and their individual roles, but they are not aware of who the “killer” really is. This makes it just as interesting for the drama students as it is for the community members who donated to the fundraiser.

“I always like to tell people that while filming and deciding roles, we had no idea who the culprit is,” Redington said. “Only Mrs. Heidrick and the editors know.”