This year has been absolutely insane for our theater department. With the loss of our beloved Parker Auditorium for performances, we weren’t entirely certain where we were going to be by the time the first production came around.
For all we knew we would have to perform on The Quad for all the squirrels. On top of that, we had a faculty member leave for bigger and better things, and another professor go on a well-deserved sabbatical.
Needless to say, we were a little apprehensive coming into the year.
While others were dreading the loss of the theater department, I chose to see it as a rare opportunity. Our theater had stumbled a little, but coming into my third year at Hanover I wasn’t going to give up that easily.
No, we were going to rebuild the theater and see it back into greatness. We had a department meeting, inviting incoming freshman and returning seniors alike to learn about what would become of the theater.
We soon learned that we would move into a space called The Other Place, formerly Donner Lecture Hall, a connecting hallway between freshman dorms Donner and Ide.
We didn’t quite see how we could possibly do productions in the small space, but after a tour of the future green room, back stage area and performance space, quelled many of our apprehensions.
We were still nervous. We had a month to put together a stage, hang lights and sound, set up risers and seating, and put together a show.
By the hair on the back our necks, we managed to finish on time, and the show went spectacularly with a packed house every night. It was an incredible feeling to know we had thrown together something so exciting as to draw out more than 300 people in three nights. It was the little boost of confidence I needed to know we were still on the right track.
With all the other changes we were making I somehow realized something we were missing and it was a biggie. We do a lot of advertisement with alumni emails, donor relations and getting the news out to our fellow classmates, but we had no real way to gauge what our audience would look like or to easily reach a lot of people.
The problem was that we had ignored social media, which as I learned in my internship over the summer, is a crucial form of marketing any organization needs to capitalize on nowadays.
After talking it over with a few of the other students, I decided that should change, and took it upon myself to make us a Facebook page that students, alumni, family members and the community could like in order to stay up on all the events and goings-on of the theater.
In the first week alone, it gained 100 followers and has grown ever since. We are now able to create events, share photos and engage with our audience in ways we never could before.
It’s been a crazy year and with two shows coming up in the next two weeks it’s sure to get crazier before the semester ends. Rebuilding a theater is a rare opportunity in college, and I can’t wait to see where we take it.