The Dolphin Show splits from StuCo


Daily file photo by by Katie Pach

Alex Schneidman and his leafy costar rehearse for the 2017 production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” The Dolphin Show will no longer operate under the Student Theatre Coalition, the two organizations jointly announced Wednesday.

Madeleine Fernando, Digital Managing Editor

The Dolphin Show will no longer operate under Student Theatre Coalition’s supervision, the two organizations jointly announced Wednesday.

The decision was “purely an administrative change” that was announced via the TWIST student theater listserv, said Michael Kelleher, the executive producer of The Dolphin Show.

The Dolphin Show — now in its 76th year — originally started out as part of Arts Alliance before becoming a separate entity about four years ago, Kelleher said.
The Communication junior said when The Dolphin Show decided to split from Arts Alliance, they were left without a governing body or an executive board. The StuCo board, he said, “filled that void.”

Previous producers of The Dolphin Show would interview candidates to replace their positions and then present their choices to the StuCo board, who would vote and confirm those selections, Kelleher said. New producers would then pitch directors and shows to the StuCo board.

However, as The Dolphin Show grew, it created its own processes and executive board, gradually becoming less dependent on StuCo, Kelleher said.

For this year’s production, “Ragtime,” the previous executive board of The Dolphin Show confirmed the producers, and the director and show were decided on jointly by the show’s producers and executive board without the input of StuCo.

According to its Wildcat Connection description, StuCo serves to “provide organizational support for the common practices of the student theatre community at Northwestern.” This includes overseeing practice spaces, providing shared equipment and helping coordinate auditions for shows.

Communication senior Matt Burgess, one of StuCo’s co-chairs, said most of these functions are not utilized by The Dolphin Show because it is more effective for the organization to act independently.

Representatives from both organizations met last week to discuss whether it was still a “productive relationship,” eventually deciding that The Dolphin Show should act without StuCo’s oversight going forward, Kelleher said.

“It’s really a question of efficiency,” Kelleher said. “This isn’t some big dramatic ‘We left,’ it’s not like a succession or anything. … It’s just a restructuring of things to streamline processes.”

Several other theater organizations also run unaffiliated with StuCo including Seesaw Theatre, the Freshman Musical and the Waa-Mu Show.

Communication senior Maddie Rostami, the executive director of Seesaw Theatre, said Seesaw remains separate from StuCo because of its specific audience and goals as an organization. The group mainly serves individuals with disabilities and frequently puts on off-campus programming, differentiating them from a traditional StuCo board, she said.

Similar to Seesaw Theatre, Kelleher said The Dolphin Show splitting from StuCo is merely an administrative decision that will have no long-lasting effects on either organization.
“In short, it doesn’t really change anything,” he said. “It’s really just codifying what was already in place this year.”

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