StuCo talks plans for next year’s theater productions

Cathaleen Qiao Chen

StuCo will begin its 2012-2013 season with a new attitude in addition to a fresh lineup of shows, said Tracy Smith, the student theater coalition’s co-chair.

As the umbrella student organization that oversees nine theater boards and two dance groups, StuCo provides support, space and resources for most of the student-produced shows on campus.

“In the past, StuCo just oversaw the individual boards and made sure auditions go flawlessly, but now we’re trying to be a more known executive board,” said Smith, a Communication junior. This year, StuCo hopes to create an official outreach committee to make the theater community more inclusive and accessible.

“Outreach is a new mindset,” said Communication junior Danielle Littman, the current director of outreach for StuCo. “StuCo has a tendency to be very insular. We care a lot about the shows we do and supporting our friends, and that creates a very beautiful community within ourselves, but it actually can be very exclusive in a lot of ways.”

To facilitate an open community within StuCo, the outreach committee will collaborate with other student groups and nonprofit organizations in Evanston and Chicago, Littman said.

Last year, Littman was able to work with 826CHI, a tutoring and creative writing workshop center. With the help of StuCo, she organized NU students to volunteer at the nonprofit organization in Wicker Park, she said.

“We want to form sustainable, long-term partnerships, so for next year, we might continue working with (826CHI) or we might find another organization,” Littman said.

StuCo will also reach out to the freshman class through presenting the outreach initiative at Student Theatre Info Night 2012, both Smith and Littman said.

“Hopefully, freshmen will encourage their friends outside the theater community to participate in productions,” Littman said. “We want to establish this mindset in the forefront, not as just an afterthought.”

For next year’s lineup, the number of shows will stay constant but some boards are trying to scale down the production process, said StuCo co-chair John Allman.

“In the past, we’ve been over-programmed, but instead of reducing the number of shows, boards are repurposing their slots,” said Allman, a Communication junior. “Some boards are giving their shows a different feel, going in a new direction.”

Arts Alliance will be producing “Avenue Q,” which will be StuCo’s first puppet show. Arts Alliance will also stage “Legally Blonde The Musical.” For the latter show, StuCo hopes to reach out to the Greek community, Smith said.

“We’re honestly not reaching out to as many people as we should be,” Smith said. “We get so excited every time we hear about engineers working on shows, or even people on North Campus. We’ve been in this bubble and now want to reach out to as many people as possible.”

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