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Lights, Cameras, Staging; Craig Dodge '82

Dodge photo
Photo: Jillian Duffy

Craig Dodge '82 has loved working with lighting and sound ever since he was a junior high student working behind the scenes on his school's theater productions.

So it was only natural that when he came to Albright he continued to hone his skills, both as part of the Domino Players and at various on-and off-campus jobs. "I was involved with the first dance marathons at Albright," Dodge said, "doing the lighting and some of the DJ work."

By the time the psychology/biology student left Albright he had his own business DJing weddings and parties on the weekends while he worked for other audio-visual companies during the week.

On one assignment, where Dodge was working a regional bank's shareholders meeting, he introduced himself to the young lady who was videotaping the meeting. First they exchanged business cards, and then, a few years later, they exchanged vows.

The company that Dodge's new bride, Virginia, was working for laid her off that year (1993). At the urging of some of her former clients, the two combined their talents to form VA Productions Inc., a full-service production company that provides high-quality video production, audio-visual services, staging, lighting, sound, and other meeting and event-planning services.

Their home in Reading initially provided the workspace they needed, but the Dodges soon outgrew it. So about seven years ago they purchased an eight-acre parcel outside Shillington, Pa. There they built a house, and then about a year later completed construction of the 2,500-square-foot office building/studio the company now calls home.

In addition to the Dodges, VA Productions has two full-time employees—a video editor and an office manager/bookkeeper. They call in independent audio/ visual and video subcontractors to work on particular projects as they're needed.

Other than stage, which is typically provided by the venue, they truck everything they need to the location, even if it's across the country. "Nine times out of ten, our costs come in lower than the venue's," Dodge said. "The bonus is that the client has the peace of mind of knowing we will be there for them 24/7 and the confidence in our ability to deliver on their needs."

The Dodges believe deeply in supporting their community through their time, talent and treasure, and both are quite active in community service. That's why part of VA Productions' mission statement reads "With everything we do at VA Productions, we believe in building strong communities. Whether that is helping clients build stronger organizational cultures through video and staging, or helping our community be a better place to live, we are passionate about the role that VA Productions can play. We donate up to 5 percent of every job to help local communities support the arts, youth initiatives and urban challenges. By making a difference for our clients, we are blessed to be able to make a difference for those in need. "

–Bob Shade

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