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Students launch new 'We Are CPA' campaign for performing arts

Memorial Hall is draped in CPA banners for their 22'-23' season on August 7, 2022.

Many students may be unaware that Memorial Hall, a seemingly standard building in the middle of campus, is home to a world-class theater, thanks to Carolina Performing Arts.

On Feb. 16, CPA launched the “We Are CPA” campaign with the intention of raising student awareness about the organization.

The campaign was designed last semester by students in media and journalism professor Gary Kayye's class, New Media Technologies: Their Impact on the Future of Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations. 

The 55-student class was tasked with collaborating to design a campaign for CPA that would appeal to students and promote $10 student tickets to performances, Grace Williams, student campaign coordinator for CPA, said.

In addition to Williams, CPA also hired Addison Lanter, Jillian Ryan and Katie Fuller as student campaign coordinators to execute the project. 

“Students simply just don't know what's going on, and they don't know what amazing performances and opportunities are at CPA and what the offerings are,” Williams said. “So, we decided to create a campaign to kind of build student awareness and get them involved in a fun and exciting way.”

The campaign is built around the tagline: “We are Champions. We are Performers. We are Advocates.”

“Throughout the next three weeks, and continuing on, we will be highlighting different champions, performers and advocates on campus,” Lanter said.

The campaign aims to provide students with a platform to celebrate their interests.

During the research stage of the design process, Lanter said the campaign team realized the importance of social media for advertising and learning about students’ impressions of CPA.

The class issued a survey via social media last semester and received over 300 responses. In that survey, the team found that most students do not know much about the organization.

“We also learned that many people didn't know the difference between CPA and PlayMakers, which was also very important because PlayMakers does in-house production, where CPA brings world class talent from all across the world,” Lanter said.

CPA hosts touring orchestras, theater troupes and international ballet companies. 

This past January, the Hong Kong Ballet performed their rendition of Romeo and Juliet through CPA.

“The Hong Kong Ballet only had two stops in the U.S. — it was New York City and Chapel Hill. And so, the fact that I was able to go to a show that would have cost me over $200 to see in New York City for $10 is incredible,” Williams said.

Lanter, who also attended the show, said students should take advantage of the low ticket prices while they are at the University – an idea being highlighted by the campaign.

“There's so much to take advantage of. I might never be able to see the Hong Kong Ballet ever again,” she said. “We're also passionate about wanting students to get the most out of the performing arts during their college experience. Because after those four years, tickets aren't $10 anymore.”

However, Ryan said CPA’s performances can seem daunting for some students. The campaign is working to eliminate the intimidating feelings that individuals may experience in the face of prestigious talent.

“They want to be engaged and hear feedback from students and celebrate them,” she said.

Although the course has ended, the student campaign coordinators said they largely decided to continue working with CPA because of what they saw in the organization and campaign.

“I think the biggest thing for me last semester was realizing the potential that was so untapped, and then just really wanting everyone else to realize that too,” Ryan said.

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CPA has several performances remaining in its 2023 season, including "Omar", an opera by musician and CPA Artist-in-Residence Rhiannon Giddens and composer Michael Abels. Classical pianist Mitsuko Uchida will also be performing on March 7 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

Students can buy tickets for these shows and more here.