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'They're So Dramatic:' The new female-led theater group is looking to showcase female talent on campus

June 27, 2022
<p>Photo courtesy of They’re So Dramatic.</p>

Photo courtesy of They’re So Dramatic.

Coining themselves as the new all-inclusive, female-led group, "They're So Dramatic" is looking for girls and non-binary people who want to showcase their talent across all artistic forms.

“It was a random idea that I had…I noticed there wasn’t really a space for female-identifying people in theater and in the art space to be able to lead," president of the club Ava Ballagh said. "I think that’s a gap in general in the theater space is a lot of times, historically, it is men who get to direct and write stuff.”

Ballagh saw an opportunity to give women more space in the university community to lead when it came to theater productions, and create a group where people could create whatever came to mind. She wants to allow everyone with a passion for art, whether they are theater majors engrained in the department or not, be encouraged to get involved.

“I think it’s going to give people the opportunity to create the art they want to," Ballagh said. "I think sometimes a lot of people have great ideas, especially women, and they’re just not sure how to start or they don’t have that community around them to actually make whatever idea they have happen. Giving people that space to create the art they would like to, I think that’s something that our campus would benefit from.”

Vice President of the club, Reese Verlinde, also saw the lack of clubs and diversity in those organizations.

“I feel like there’s only a couple of theater clubs that have been around for a while … we wanted a new theater club where we can create what other kids want, want to join the club, is super inclusive, and is for everybody," Verlinde said. "It can be what the members want it to be instead of what board members want it to be.”

Verlinde wants to create a group that not only creates art, but is excited to join and find new ways to express themselves. She explained it's good to build something entirely new from the ground up because you get to figure out what the members want and structure completely off of what they want to get out of the club.

“This past year it was really hard for me to find something that I enjoyed," Verlinde said. "I participated in a different theater club, but I feel like the passion was lost for a year, so I’m really excited to get back into it this year and starting to develop this club.”

The group wanted to be able to break away from the societal normality of men running the behind-the-scenes and leadership aspect of theater, placing female leaders in their rightful place. E-board member Bee Neuhouser thinks that this representation helps the community overall.

“People assume that theater is a very feminine thing, but it's not. Like everything else in this world, it’s straight, white men led," Neuhouser said. "I think that being around women and non-binary people who love theater…helps build up the girls who have been torn down.”

While Neuhouser recently switched their focus of study to theater, they knew that this group could have the potential to increase their involvement on campus and the theater community.

“I think that it’s important for people to identify similarly to have a place to call their own," Neuhouser said. "While the theater department is super welcoming…it’s still really important to have that sense of community because even if you are just starting, you don’t know these people, you can’t reach out to them if you’re having a hard time. With ‘They’re So Dramatic,’ you don’t have that. You would be able to reach out to (the community) as soon as possible.”

Neuhouser explained that they would love to see an all-women run, written, produced, and directed show come out this group this year, putting the club on the map and also creating a place where Neuhouser can explore their passion.

“[Theater] has always been a place where I could be myself, and I knew that no matter what happened, I would be safe there," Neuhouser said. "I didn’t start with theater in college because I always thought I wasn’t talented enough, but upon making that headfirst dive (into the community), I realized it’s not about talent, it’s about confidence and believing in yourself. I really want to bring that to ‘They’re So Dramatic.’”

Verlinde and Ballagh also have big plans and goals this year. Verlinde wants to try a plethora of activities such as dance classes, singing lessons, and monologue acting for their meetings. Ballagh's biggest goal for the coming semester is to put together a showcase of talent or doing readings or performances of pieces written by others in the group.

“I think people should join our group because it’s new and we want to hear what people want, so there’s no wrong way or no pressure to audition … I feel like it’s such a place of inclusion where everyone is welcome,” Verlinde said.

Verlinde said that the club will center around doing what the people in the group love to do: perform and enjoy being part of a community.

“(Joining the club) would be a chance to support women and….non-binary people," Neuhouser said. "Its a chance to explore what makes you you and what makes theater for you.”

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