UNC’s Manifesto Theatre hosted its first idea forum on Friday in Gray Hall. The open meeting allowed officers and new members to share ideas for the club’s direction. Manifesto Theatre brainstormed possible events for the semester and ways to address the club’s struggle with solidifying a mission statement without compromising the experimental environment the officers strive to create.
An intimate group with about seven members, Manifesto Theatre’s officers founded it in April through their shared passion for all aspects of theater. Because Manifesto Theatre is a very young club, the idea forum gathered a small crowd, mostly of their own officers. Undeterred, the members of the club used this time to speculate and bring about new ways for the group to grow.
Club officers used the meeting to reflect on just why they started the club in order to narrow down what they are and what they want to do with this opportunity. This was a common concern, as prospective members admitted they were confused on what the club’s focus is.
“To be fair, we haven’t found what we are about,” said Eddie Chavez Rodriguez, a sophomore in theatre studies and the club’s marketing coordinator.
Rodriguez suggested that they needed to have their events speak for the intent of the club, which entails solidifying dates and heavy promotion to gain interest.
Ultimately the members agreed that the club was originally formulated because the founders realized there was a demand for a more student-led experience. Other clubs, for example, have a stricter focus on making their productions professional and controlled; some prefer to be niche, such as improv, an improvisational technique of performing without preparation.
While these types of clubs serve their purpose, Manifesto Theatre has a mission of focusing on the students and whatever direction they want to lead this club.
“All the other student groups have all these things that you can audition for and you can be a part of and that’s really fun, but sometimes it’s like, ‘oh that’s not interesting to me,’ or ‘that’s not what I want to do,’” said Claire Weigel, a sophomore theatre studies major and the club’s treasurer.
Weigel said she believes Manifesto Theatre could provide an outlet for members to experience more creative control with its individualistic approach.
This experience is not limited to a certain class level, skill level or theatre majors, either. According to Morgan Parker, a sophomore in theatre studies, this club is welcome to anyone who is enthusiastic about theater and excited to collaborate and contribute to the group.
The founders remembered their own freshman experiences and collectively agreed that it was intimidating trying to find the club that best fit their needs and interests. Manifesto Theatre intends to function as the group the founders needed back then, but they didn’t have access to.
Manifesto Theatre encourages people to join a conversation on the ongoing ideas and directions for the club; anyone is welcome to join, as the club takes creative leaps and explores theater in a casual, yet committed setting.
The club’s first upcoming event is the “No Mic Comedy Night” at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22 in Frasier Hall Room 005. Performer slots are currently open, and a signup link can be found on the club’s Facebook page. For future events, including one-act plays and poetry slams, Manifesto Theatre will post flyers and signups on the Student Callboard in Frasier Hall.
UNC Manifesto Theatre