Lipstick Theatre joins Student Theatre Coalition one year early


Source: Christopher Ruetten

Cast Members perform in Lipstick Theatre’s production of “For Colored Girls.” Lipstick Theatre, Northwestern’s feminist theater group, recently joined the Student Theatre Coalition to expand its presence on campus.

Remy Afong, Reporter


Northwestern’s feminist theater company, Lipstick Theatre, was approved a year early to join the Student Theatre Coalition, contributing a new element of diversity to the now 12-group collective.

Lipstick Theatre is dedicated to exploring women’s issues and providing female theatre artists opportunities for artistic expression and growth on campus. The company is currently in its third full season.

StuCo exists to supply resources to theater groups on campus, facilitate dialogue and program events that serve the theatre community as a whole, said StuCo co-chair Tristan Chiruvolu, a Communication senior. He added StuCo also facilitates auditions for all productions, even if they are not produced by StuCo groups.

“StuCo makes a lot of decisions that affect our board and how we function, so it just makes sense logistically (for us to join),” said Lipstick Theatre executive co-chair Avril Dominguez, a Communication junior. “It also gives us a voice to have some say in what happens in the theater community.”

Lipstick Theatre previously petitioned to join StuCo last year but was denied admittance on the grounds of having to prove sustainability, Chiruvolu said.

“Because (Lipstick Theatre) was so new, members of StuCo exec at the time wanted Lipstick to wait until the founding members graduated and a year had passed,” he said.

However, Lipstick Theatre’s board believed it could prove sustainability without waiting an additional year and informed StuCo of its desire to petition this quarter, said Lipstick Theatre activism co-chair Jenna Perlstein, a Communication junior. The group submitted a written application that included its constitution, mission, ticket sales and finances, she said. The co-chairs delivered a presentation to the StuCo executive board on Jan.19.

In the presentation, Chiruvolu said the co-chairs showed how Lipstick Theatre could contribute to StuCo’s goals of diversity and inclusion. They delivered statistics on the amount of women in directing, production and theater management roles, he said.

“They laid out the percentages and said, ‘It’s on a rise, but if Lipstick were to join it would be even higher,’” Chiruvolu said.

After the presentation, StuCo’s board deliberated and came to a unanimous decision, Chiruvolu said. He added it was a very short process because they were all on the same page to accept Lipstick Theatre as a member.

“They have also proven themselves as a consistent and valuable member of the community even while not being a part of StuCo,” he said. “So just having them as now an official member is really great.”

Artistic co-chair Ben Weiss will represent Lipstick Theatre at StuCo executive board meetings. The Communication junior said a need for more communication with the rest of the theater community was a driving factor in the group’s decision to petition to join.

“There are just certain decisions and conversations that happen in those StuCo exec meetings that affect not only those boards, but the entire programming and student theater community,” Weiss said. “We felt like sometimes by not being in the room, everything we (found) out (was) through the grapevine.”

This partnership will also make it easier for the company to access technical resources and book spaces for shows, Perlstein said.

Weiss said acceptance into StuCo makes him feel proud of how much Lipstick Theatre has grown and is excited that it now has the power to influence other theater boards.

“Because we haven’t been a part of StuCo, we’ve made a lot of connections with organizations on and off campus that can be beneficial to other boards and help all of us broaden our audiences,” he said.

The three co-chairs said being a part of StuCo solidifies Lipstick Theatre’s presence in the NU community.

“These issues are here to stay,” Perlstein said. “Women’s voices in theater and diverse presentation and inclusion won’t be forgotten because we’re in the room.”

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