Dimmed lights and an illuminated stage set the mood for a night of talent and entertainment at The Venue. The smell of coffee and cookies filled the air, as the audience gathered with anticipation for the night to begin in the Jean Browne Theater.
The Venue is an open forum for students to come and showcase their talents, whether their talent is singing, poetry, or even dancing, it is welcome at this one-of-a-kind activity.
“The Venue is offered to give those something to do, somewhere to go, and free food. There are people to hang with, a place to gather, and friendly faces to welcome,” Dr. David Crawford, professor of Speech and Theater, said.
The Venue is a place for any performer to try out their new material in front of a forgiving and supportive audience.
“For me, personally, it’s been a place that I can actually show off the musical talents that God has blessed me with… but it’s a great place to hang out with people and a great way to make new friends, and it’s made my desire to perform much stronger each time I play,” performer Caden Crawford said.
Not only does The Venue reach out to students, but it is also for anyone who wants to join in the fun. Performing is not required and anyone can go to hang out with friends and meet new people.
“The Venue is a great opportunity to meet new people and get to better understand and appreciate others and their passions and talents. It’s a lot of fun and very entertaining,” student and Venue participant Stormy Philpot said.
Typically, there are multiple Venues each semester including the summer mini semesters and they last around two hours.
Dr. Crawford would like to lengthen the time of The Venue from two hours to three hours in order to slow things down and not feel so rushed with the time they have.
“I want to slow things down. It’s a coffeehouse, not strictly a theatre of entertainment,” Dr. Crawford said. “It’s kind of like that now, but I’m sure we can bump our crowds up even more.”
Crawford believes that The Venue is going in that direction and will eventually get there.
Dr. Crawford is open to new ideas about changes that could be made to The Venue and tries his best to make the audience want more.
“I listen to suggestions, but with every semester comes new students to experience the Venue and there’s been a little change,” Dr. Crawford said.
Although things are slowly changing at The Venue, there are a few rules that will be kept the same. Performers have five minutes. Keep it clean, no vulgarity, no amps or microphones, and original works are celebrated.
The next Venue is March 21 and is aimed towards celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Dr. Crawford suggests green icing on the cookies, works from Dylan Thomas, songs by The Chieftans, and of course original pieces.
The other Venues will be April 4 and April 25. To sign up to perform email Dr. Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org, Caden Crawford at email@example.com, or sign up on Dr. Crawford’s office door, which is located on the top floor of the Jean Brown Theater building and is in WCA-Studio 7.