As the fundraising campaign for the ACU Theatre, "Lights Up!" began in 2011 when Tim Covington, Lisa Holland and Amy McCall—all ACU Theatre alumni—wanted to organize a specific event to foster ongoing donations to the department.
Feeling that there were people out there who would enjoy giving to the ACU Theatre, they kicked off the campaign with a gala event during the run of Noises Off, an ACU fall 2011 production. The success of that endeavor led to yearly "Lights Up!" events during the next three homecoming musicals: 42nd Street, Les Miserables and Big Fish. Most recently, on November 2015 "Lights Up!" hosted "1700 Miles to Broadway: an evening of song with Ben Jeffrey of Broadway's The Lion King."
The money raised for "Lights Up!" has allowed the ACU Theatre to dramatically increase opportunities for the department by helping fund:
- Agents and casting directors from New York City and other regional areas invited to attend our Senior Showcase. This is an effort to gain our graduates representation in the professional world of performing.
- Workshops throughout the year provided by theatre in dance, design, vocal and acting techniques, etc.
- Assistance for our students to attend unified auditions and conferences
- Guest designers and artists, accompanists, support staff in costume and scenic shops, etc.
- Various equipment needs that face the department from year to year
In short, the department has come to depend on "Lights Up!" to enable the continued commitment to excellence.