The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, May 24, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Campus groups compete for fresh talent

Search for new performance spaces

If you see someone handing out fliers in the Pit this week dressed as a gorilla, don't be surprised.

It's just an example of how far some student performance groups will go to attract new recruits.

With more than 10 groups competing for students who thrive under the bright lights, some organizations will do whatever it takes to gather fresh talent.

"We perform at Freshman Camp, sing in the Pit and are performing at Fall Fest to let freshmen know who we are," said Emily Burns, the business manager of the popular, all-female a cappella group the Loreleis.

Knocking on dorm room doors, sitting in the Pit, hanging fliers in virtually every building on campus and holding wild publicity stunts are other methods these groups use to attract students to interest meetings and auditions.

Sean Casserly, one of three producers for Lab! Theatre, UNC's oldest and most active student theater group, has assisted in planning fall shows and publicity ventures since this spring.

"We've already got general interest meetings set up in Kenan Theatre so we can pull in as many freshmen as we can," Casserly said.

"We can tell them what Lab! stands for, how many shows we have going on and let them know we've already got our first set ready to go - ready for them to audition."

Lab! offers as many as 12 shows each school year, allowing a large number of students to participate.

"Because we are supported by the drama department, we've got a strong and omnipresent publicized force," Casserly said.

"Lab! has the name value that's been long-standing and has come to deserve that kind of integrity."

Both Company Carolina and Pauper Players, student theater organizations completely independent of University funding, also have events lined up to attract new members.

"Although we typically don't have a hard time getting a lot of people to come out for auditions, we definitely do our best to pub for them," said senior Lori Mannette, an administrator for Pauper.

"But we draw a different kind of group from Lab! and Company because we only do musicals."

Even if competition isn't a problem for some groups, there are other difficulties facing a cappella and theater groups.

Campuswide construction targeting several popular performance venues has forced groups into alternate spaces.

"We're exploring the possibility of nontraditional theater that doesn't need a traditional space because of the shortage," said Emily Ingram, a producer for Company Carolina.

Last year the Achordants, an all-male a cappella group, were forced to choose a more distant location for their spring performance because their usual venue, Gerrard Hall, was under construction.

Despite space constraints and a hectic recruitment schedule, group leaders say those who join will be surrounded by devoted individuals who perform for the love of their craft.

"I think the one thing that makes people love our group is how dedicated we all are to our music and each other," Burns said.

And the Lorelei wasn't alone in her sentiment.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

"Even though there are some disagreements during shows, people always have a good time and keep coming back to audition," Ingram said.

Contact the Arts Editor at