Theater group gets new location, looks forward to ‘semester of change’

Club will hold performances in CUB, may rent Wadleigh Theatre for some events



Chemical engineering major Elyas Alnamnakani picks up a flyer for STAGE Student Theatre’s improv comedy show at Glenn Terrell Mall on Wednesday.

CARMEN JARAMILLO, Evergreen reporter

STAGE, the only student theater group on campus, will be moving its office into the CUB later this month as the club tries to find its footing as an independent student organization after WSU Performing Arts was cut last year.

This semester represents a “semester of change” for the group, said Aryn Allen, president of STAGE. The group is learning how to transition from the support of WSU Performing Arts to being an independent club under the roof of Student Involvement.

Allen said with everything that happened last year, STAGE is trying to regroup and start fresh.

“Last year was about being bitter,” Allen said. “This year it’s about ‘that happened, it’s over.’ We’re moving forward as a club, as a whole and working together as a team to make this a better organization.”

Currently STAGE occupies a small room in Daggy Hall, where for the past 20 years it has held meetings, rehearsals and been a hang-out for club members.

Jared Braswell, STAGE’s public relations executive officer, said STAGE has been in limbo about where it will live on campus since Performing Arts was cut. He said without Performing Arts, the group could be asked to leave Daggy Hall at any time.

“We didn’t even think we were going to have [the space] going into the semester,” Braswell said. “We’re getting out on our own terms, basically, while we still have the resources and can do it.”

The new office, where STAGE will hold its first meeting Sept. 20, is in the lower level of the CUB.

Karee Shaw, senior associate director of the CUB, said she worked alongside Student Involvement and Student Affairs to find a solution to STAGE’s housing problem but decided on this space as a temporary solution.

STAGE will have the space through this academic year, but after May 2019 they will have to apply for a space in the CUB through the advisory board like other student groups.

“It’s a new dynamic to have in our facility and we’re really excited about it,” Shaw said.

Braswell said he hopes the new location will allow the group to be more connected to campus and accessible to students.

“In the past, we have always been located in Daggy, and most students don’t know where that is,” he said. “Being in the CUB means that we are going to have a bigger presence on campus.”

With Performing Arts gone, STAGE has been without a faculty adviser, with Student Involvement Director Brian Shuffield serving as the interim adviser.

Student Involvement is in the process of hiring an arts and programming director who, Shuffield said in a press release, will serve as STAGE’s adviser.

Until Sanctuary Yoga entered into an agreement with WSU last month to lease Wadleigh and Jones theatres, STAGE didn’t know where it was going to perform.

For this semester all Nuthouse Improv shows will be in the CUB auditorium, but because of technical limitations STAGE was still looking for a theater for its yearly STAGE ONE mainstage theatrical performance.

“All last year it was kind of a big thing looming over us, the fact that we don’t have a place to perform on our campus,” Braswell said.

Now, with the Sanctuary deal made public, STAGE will again be able to use Wadleigh Theatre.

Allen said the group is excited to work with Sanctuary and happy that the two theatres will still be used for performances and not left empty. No matter what, she said, the club would have found a way to perform, but she’s excited for this new arrangement and its opportunities.