Emily is a junior majoring in English from Metairie, LA. She was heavily involved in theatre throughout her elementary and high school years, but she now mostly opts for a seat in the audience. She still finds multiple ways to keep performing as a hobby, while juggling her involvement in LSU Ambassadors and her job as a campus tour guide. Emily is proud to serve as a Parent Orientation Leader for the college of Art and Design.
Let’s imagine it’s a Saturday night here at LSU. Most, myself included, immediately find their thoughts drifting to the deafening cheers ringing throughout Tiger Stadium as our football team takes center stage on the field. This image becomes a reality as fall semester rolls in and college football officially begins. Many affiliate football season as the one and only entertainment line up on campus. Of course, there are entertainment seasons outside of football and live music just as thrilling as the Tiger Band that can be found in multiple theatres and venues across campus.
Like football, the arts at LSU are one of the many versatile pieces in the puzzle that make Louisiana State University the flagship university it is. One of my favorite aspects of the arts on campus, especially the performing arts, is its availability to the student population. I grew up performing in theatre and constantly attending shows, so I’ve always been a fan of the arts. I naturally sought out opportunities to see shows on campus, and I first looked into the theatre department. LSU’s theatre department offers an array of performances by students in the department or professional actors, depending on the show. A typical season consists of two categories—LSU Theatre Mainstage and LSU Lab Shows, with special events intertwined during the season.
Many incoming students choose to take a theatre elective to fill their general education arts requirement, and in order to fully immerse themselves in the workings of live theatre, many professors require their students to see a certain number of LSU shows. I didn’t chose to take a theatre elective, but I still frequented the performances. Since so many of my friends were enrolled in Introduction to Theatre, I enjoyed discussing the various shows and sharing opinions on the performances.
The variety of performances during a season are housed in diverse theatres around campus, which include the Shaver Theatre and Lab theatre, both located in the Music and Dramatic Arts building, and the Swine Palace theatre that resides on the east side of campus. Each venue has a unique set up that enhances the performances staged there. Separate from these three theatre department stages stands the beautiful Union Theatre at the center of campus. This theatre is certainly one of my favorite spots on campus, and definitely my favorite performance venue. The state-of-the-art stage has been host to traveling Broadway shows, international ballets, famous comedians, and concerts. When I first found out that a theatre literally within walking distance of my residential hall offered professional Broadway shows at a discounted student rate, the theatre kid inside of me was jumping (or rather, dancing) for joy.
Many my favorite memories at LSU include soaking in the performing arts in the Union Theatre. I have had so many wonderful experiences as an audience member for symphonies, musical theatre class review, LSU Musical Theatre Club’s production of “Grease”, my favorite Disney musical “Beauty and the Beast”, and a Las Vegas Beatles Tribute entitled “Yesterday”. The variety of both amateur and professional shows hosted in this theatre offer a unique and inexpensive way for students to take advantage of one aspect of the arts on campus.
Just as I discovered the wonders of Broadway touring shows making their way on campus, I encourage all students to reach out and discover what is going on in the world of LSU arts. I was only able to cover a small fraction of the typical theatre happenings at LSU, but there is so much more out there! If there is one thing I want my readers to gain from this post, it would be to keep your eyes open for traveling shows, art gallery specials, poetry readings, band concerts, or anything at all in the arts that piques your interest!
Football may last a season, but on-campus live entertainment is year-round. Find something to fill that Saturday night void.