PA house keeps tradition alive


Photo by Randy Paulson

by Taylor Williams, Social Media Editor

A tradition formed over 23 years ago continues to stay alive with the hard work and direction of members of the Performing Arts House.

“The Underground is a “cabaret style event where any student can come and perform something they love to do,” said Zoe Murphy, a junior theater arts and accounting major.

Students who participate in the Underground often sing, dance, share poetry or perform comedy acts.

Murphy explained there is also an improv club that does an improv game at every Underground.

PA house members senior Cierra Clark, junior Dallas Williams, sophomore Jack Strub, sophomore Jared Campbell, and Murphy put a lot of work into making the Underground a great experience for everyone.

“We do a lot of planning for the Underground,” Campbell said.

Student performances take up most of the event but the PA house likes to add additional elements to the show.

“We like to have some kind of skit, movie or song. We also figure out if there will be a theme and plan a skit around the theme,” Campbell said.

Their most popular themes include a Halloween costume contest, ugly Christmas sweater contest, and auction for dates with house members as a fundraiser for their philanthropy Run DSM.

They also work hard to keep their social media up to date. Clark makes posts for their Facebook page and Strub takes photos of the group and photoshops their heads onto posters promoting the next Underground.

The Underground is typically hosted in Barnum Studio theater or Pote Theater when the crowd exceeds over 90 students. Murphy said that she has seen crowds as large as 130 students who came to watch anywhere from eight to 12 students express themselves through their craft.

The Underground is usually once a month on a Friday night but when prospective students are on campus for a visit the Underground happens Thursday night.

Freshman elementary education major, Faithyna Leonard, was once one of these prospective students and said participating in the Underground helped weigh in her decision to go to Simpson “because it allowed me to see a place where people were allowed to express themselves freely.”

Since her first performance at the Underground, Leonard has attended almost every Underground this year and performed an original slam poem about sexual assault. As a survivor Leonard thought the Underground would be the perfect place to share her thoughts because it’s a safe environment.

“I felt safe and it made a great impact in my life,” Leonard said.

Members of the PA house encourage anyone who has a talent they would like to share to just do it.

“It’s a very encouraging and constructive environment,” Williams said. “It’s satisfying to do something you love in front of people who respect, appreciate and understand your passion for what you do.”

Anyone who is nervous about performing is encouraged to bring their friends for support.

The next Underground is scheduled for March. If students are interested in performing at the Underground they can reach out to a house member. Anyone who asks to perform will normally be put in the show unless it is already full. Then they’ll be moved to the next show.