The Daily Evergreen

STAGE carries on Performing Arts legacy

Acting club seeks to preserve tradition of arts at WSU with help from former theater professors

BENJAMIN+MICHAELIS+%7C+THE+DAILY+EVERGREEN%0ASenior+President+of+STAGE+Aryn+Allen+talks+about+the+budget+cuts+and+how+they+have+forced+the+theater+group+to+undertake+additional+responsibility+to+keep+acting+at+WSU+alive+Friday+in+the+Bookie.+
BENJAMIN MICHAELIS | THE DAILY EVERGREEN
Senior President of STAGE Aryn Allen talks about the budget cuts and how they have forced the theater group to undertake additional responsibility to keep acting at WSU alive Friday in the Bookie.

BENJAMIN MICHAELIS | THE DAILY EVERGREEN Senior President of STAGE Aryn Allen talks about the budget cuts and how they have forced the theater group to undertake additional responsibility to keep acting at WSU alive Friday in the Bookie.

BENJAMIN MICHAELIS | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

BENJAMIN MICHAELIS | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

BENJAMIN MICHAELIS | THE DAILY EVERGREEN Senior President of STAGE Aryn Allen talks about the budget cuts and how they have forced the theater group to undertake additional responsibility to keep acting at WSU alive Friday in the Bookie.

JULIA KAMINSKI, Evergreen columnist

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In May 2018 the theater department shut down, leaving students in fall 2018 without the academic influence of acting and theater.

Students have creative outlets through activities like drawing, painting and music, but when it comes to performance arts, WSU is severely lacking. Since the budget cuts in 2017, the theater program and the joy it brings has been missed.

Acting reduces stress from classes and provides a healthy escape from reality compared to television or drug use. Theater provides an open outlet that connects students and creates a home away from home within the community.

Aryn Allen, president of STAGE since April 2017, started acting two years ago as a sophomore at WSU.

“I feel like acting helped me connect with people on a better level,” Allen said.

Before their contract was up in May, former theater professors Mary Trotter and Benjamin Gonzales attempted to give the clubs all they needed to know before they lost access to staff advisors and acting classes.

In the last hours of their employment, the theater professors still kept the students and the future in mind.

“Mary Trotter and Benjamin Gonzales taught the executives and the older members everything they could so that we could all remember it and pass it down to later generations,” Allen said.

Alone, the theater club on campus must bear the burden of teaching acting to interested WSU students. They are unpaid and perform this service for the university, expecting nothing in return.

“It was stressful because I don’t know a lot about theater and they had to teach it to us in a manner of nine months,” Allen said.

Since the department shut down, the theater club gained members who want to experience theater but no longer have that opportunity through classes at WSU.

Uncertain of the future for theater on campus, the STAGE executives were concerned with the greater demand for architecture and design studios in Daggy Hall. This is shown by the School of Design and Construction class 120 which was originally located in Carpenter Hall 301 but later relocated to Daggy 1.

Due to the recent conversions, STAGE is relocating its meeting space to the CUB, a more desirable venue.

Berto Cerrillo, the associate director for Student Involvement, is one of the facilitators of the club’s relocation.

“We would offer advising, our guidance and whatever resources we could find to help them find a home now that [Performing Arts] isn’t here as it once was,” Cerrillo said.

Daggy Hall, the former home to the theater program, is being converted to design studios.

“There was no making up for the facilities they lost,” Cerrillo said. “That was a real home for them. Our goal was to do whatever we could do next, so we worked with Student Affairs and the CUB.”

The recent Arts Without Borders effort has aided STAGE and opened opportunities for its members. The communication department also helped by lending acting experience through Cable 8.

The art programs on campus and student organizations sympathize with the drama club and have provided help where they could.

“We don’t have theater space and advisers so other people were reaching out to us,” Allen said. “And it’s nice, but if we didn’t have this cutting we wouldn’t need so much assistance.”

The theater club at WSU has felt the loss of the program the most, soldiering on for the sake of the next generation of students. Any way students can support them, from participation to the outside involvement of other programs, is vital for STAGE and the acting clubs to survive.

STAGE binds students together with common goals: to grow as actors, create a reality all their own and entertain WSU through an art that has gone underappreciated in Pullman.

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STAGE carries on Performing Arts legacy