One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Rich Stratton, Assistant Director or Public Relations

Divas are known for their amazing talent and temperamental self-importance.  Ava Ramsey, a senior at Cedarville University majoring in theatre, defies this stereotype. 

Ramsey, a gifted actress from Peoria, Illinois, quietly set a Cedarville University record when she completed her 110thperformance on The DeVries Theatre stage with the close of “12 Angry Jurors” on April 21. 

Cedarville’s theatre program mounts three mainstage productions annually, each having a run of 10 performances. Students who graduate in four years can appear on stage a maximum of 120 times if they audition and are cast in every show — an unlikely scenario. 

Ava Ramsey“I can’t recall another student ever appearing in more performances at Cedarville than Ava,” said Dr. Diane Merchant, retiring professor of theatre who has been at Cedarville for more than 30 years. “Ava is a delightful and hard-working student who was deserving of every role.” 

Ramsey didn’t audition for the first show of her freshman year because she was afraid. “My mom had encouraged me to major in theatre, but I wasn’t certain I could make it as a professional. I didn’t even think I would get cast in a college production,” reflected Ramsey.  

Stacey Stratton, assistant professor of theatre, shared that Ramsey’s humility is her biggest secret to success. 

“Ava is the most humble artist I have ever known,” said Stratton. “Sometimes I wonder if she has any idea how truly gifted she is. Her desire to glorify God with her work while genuinely championing others around her is what makes her so special.” 

Mustering the courage to audition for every remaining show, Ramsey committed to accepting any role she was offered, “I never considered a role too small; God always had a plan to teach me something,” said Ramsey. “I was just thankful for the opportunity.” 

Playing small roles helped Ramsey to view performing from the perspective of seeking satisfaction in the Lord, rather than looking for recognition or comparing herself to others.  

Larger roles allowed Ramsey to grow not only as an actress but as a follower of Christ. It was while preparing for her first Cedarville leading role that she learned to fully trust the Lord.  “During ‘Silent Sky’ my faith was boosted, and I developed a real relationship with Christ, it was such a life changing experience that I told the Lord I would be fine with never being cast again if another student’s life could be changed that way,” Ramsey remembers. 

Being in every production meant devoting all her evenings to the rehearsal process. While other students were studying or enjoying free time, Ramsey was in the theatre. “Spending night after night in rehearsal could be an exhausting creative challenge, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” said Ramsey. “Being cast so often was a blessing and I didn’t take that for granted.” 

Ramsey is thankful for her time at Cedarville, not because she set a record, but because it has given her a solid foundation, “At Cedarville we get to study with professors who don’t just want us to grow as theatre professionals, but as lights that shine in a very dark place, I’m most grateful for their sacrificial hearts and godly influence.” 

After graduating in May, Ramsey will continue to use her remarkable talents. In July, she will assistant direct “Cinderella” with Inspiring Arts Productions in Mason, Ohio, and has a call-back audition with Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the oldest continually operating professional theatre in the United States. 

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