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O’Connell and Company ends tenure at ECC, heads to Park School

O’Connell and Company, the theater launched by local singer and actress Mary Kate O’Connell in 1995, will move from its home on the Williamsville campus of Erie Community College to The Park School in Snyder.

“This partnership provides an exceptional range of participation in professional theatrical work for The Park School,” O’Connell said in a statement announcing the move.

“Students will have the opportunity to audition for certain roles and will be able to intern in technical, performance, production, design, and docent positions for O’Connell & Company shows,” she said

As theaters struggle to meet the demands of increasing rent and dwindling funding, more of them are seeking out collaborations with educational institutions in the hope of shoring up their stability.

O’Connell and Company, which produces mostly musicals and some plays, has been experimenting with those funding strategies since 2008, when the company moved out of its longtime home in a small theater in Snyder Square. The next year, it began its collaboration with ECC.

“As a progressive school we believe in active, experiential learning,” said Park School Headmaster Christopher J. Lauricella in a statement. “I can think of nothing more experiential than having our students and faculty work alongside O’Connell and Company as they stage their productions.”

The company will wrap up its run at ECC with productions of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” running through April 28, and “Nunsense II,” running May 26 to June 13.