Christina Bruun-Horrigan (center) with friends and fellow volunteers, Jo Ferry (left) and Debbie Cochran (right)

Editor’s Note

This is part 3 of a 6-part sponsored series that focuses on the Renaissance’s passion of the arts and what it means for the community.

The Renaissance Theatre has become a staple of holiday traditions for families in Mansfield, providing programming to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. With programs like Jazzy Christmas, Holiday Pops and The Muppet Christmas Carol, the Renaissance is sure to reach many community members with their variety of entertainment.

The Horrigan family has lived in Mansfield for 14 years and been involved with the Renaissance for many of those, especially during the Christmas season. Christina Bruun-Horrigan began volunteering in September of 2018 when there was an open house to recruit new volunteers. She really began to go full throttle with it the following January. 

“I knew that I had time to volunteer and once our grandson got active in the Ren, it was definitely a place I wanted to be a part of,” Bruun-Horrigan said.

“I love greeting people. I love to see people and welcome them to this wonderful gem in Richland County and the city of Mansfield. It’s just wonderful to see a variety of people coming and enjoying all of the different programming that the Ren puts on,” Bruun-Horrigan said.

Most of the time Bruun-Horrigan is an usher, greeting people as they enter the theatre and taking them down the aisle to get them seated.

However the Renaissance needs spruced up and decorated for the holidays, so the volunteers work together to make the theatre even more beautiful and festive. The staircase is full of decor and multiple trees grace the hallways.

“Last year was the first year I decorated and it was a lot of fun creating and working with the other volunteers to make it look pretty,” Bruun-Horrigan said.

The Ramos family pictured in front of the staircase decorated by Christina and friends. From left to right: Laila Ramos, Zakari Ramos, Marden Ramos, Sarah Horrigan-Ramos.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Renaissance. Click here to see the benefits of being a volunteer and to sign up.

Her daughter, Sarah Horrigan-Ramos teaches dance at Richland Academy, and her students are involved in many events, as well as her daughter Laila Ramos, and son Zakari Ramos, 14. His first performance at the Ren was in Newsies five years ago. Both of his parents are dance teachers, so his whole life he’s been able to perform in front of them around the studio. To be on stage would be a different experience.

“What originally piqued my interest was when I saw the movie version of Newsies, and then I got to go see it on tour in Cleveland. Two years later, I saw that the Renaissance was doing it, and that’s when I realized that I wanted to get into it,” Ramos said.

On December 10th, the Renaissance presented “We Wish You A Jazzy Christmas,” a night featuring an artistic jazz orchestra. Some of Horrigan-Ramos’s students from the Richland Academy were in the show as well as Zakari.

“I think the variety of programming the Renaissance offers is very nice. You have the opportunity to see something local but at a very high level. There could be a musical one weekend and then a concert the next,” Horrigan-Ramos said.

“The stage crew has to flip the stage so quickly. Lots of behind the scenes work happens to bring the magic of the holidays to life on stage, and we’re really lucky to be a part of it.”

Participating in programs and shows at the Renaissance has become a family affair and there’s no signs of it stopping. They’re involved in a unique way; being able to experience the theatre as audience members, teachers, performers and volunteers.

To see the Christmas magic yourself, grab tickets to the scheduled holiday events. On December 17th, The Renaissance presents “Holiday Pops,” followed by a screening of “The Muppet Christmas Carol” on December 18th. Also, learn more about volunteering here.

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