Champaign Aviation Museum to host Urbana grad’s original plays


URBANA—The Champaign Aviation Museum will host theater director Ashley Sarver at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15, as she returns to her hometown to direct two original plays about women aviation pioneers.

A cast made up of Ohio girls will perform “Dear A. E.,” a coming-of-age, solo musical Sarver wrote about a girl who learns about herself as she travels the country researching a musical about Amelia Earhart. They will also perform “Seventeen,” also by Sarver, about the lives of Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) as they learn to fly four-engine B-17 bombers at Lockbourne Army Airfield (now Rickenbacker International Airport, near Columbus) during World War II.

Donations will be accepted at the performance to cover production costs.

A West Liberty-Salem Schools graduate, Sarver teaches theater and directs plays at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as she completes her master of fine arts program in stage directing.

Sarver visited air museums across the United States to research “Seventeen” with the help of a grant from the Atlantic World Research Network.

Sarver, who also has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in multimedia communication from Olivet Nazarene University, was most recently the assistant for an industry reading of a new musical in New York City at Playwright’s Horizons, and she was the assistant director for “White Lightning” at Greensboro’s professional theatre, Triad Stage. She has been the head director for many plays and musicals, and she has performed in many productions including “Wit,” “Doubt,” “The Music Man,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Sweeney Todd.”

Located on Historic Grimes Field Airport in Urbana, the Champaign Aviation Museum restores, exhibits and flies World War II-era aircraft. Among its collection is a flying B-25 “Mitchell” bomber that’s available for rides and air shows, and a Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” reconstruction project. The museum is a partner of the National Aviation Heritage Area. Visit champaignaviationmuseum.org for more information.