Sandbox Student Productions performs “Bertolt Brecht” in their spring 2020 season. Photo courtesy of Sandbox Student Production’s Instagram.
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Since 2018, the student-run group, Sandbox Student Productions has been merging theatre, social justice and student collaboration through staged readings of plays that pertain to social issues. Each show is performed for one night only, and the proceeds are donated to social justice charities, such as the Spencer Pride commUnity Center and Project HEAL. By combining these ideas, Sandbox has created unique learning opportunities for participants and audience members alike.
This semester is no exception. The spring 2022 season was announced on Jan. 26, and this season, Sandbox is focusing on shows that discuss and offer new perspectives on LGBTQ+ issues.
Maddie Davies, a senior theatre major and Sandbox’s artistic director, explains why they have decided to focus on these issues.
“This semester [LGBTQ+] is our main cause,” Davies said. “We always try to focus on social justice. I think it’s important to see shows that help you refocus on the world, rather than escape it.”
Here is a look at what Sandbox has in store this semester.
“A Very Incomplete History of the Blue Planet” by Mallery Avidon
This play is about two aliens who travel through time on Earth and witness eras of LGBTQ+ history through different couples. It draws attention to often overlooked and forgotten aspects of history and life. With a novel premise, there are many opportunities for new perspectives, humor and experimentation within the show.
Mikaela Schmitt, a senior theatre arts administration major and Sandbox executive director, commented on the funny and unique aspects of the show.
“It discusses a lot of very prevalent topics,” Schmitt said. “It’s one of those pieces of theatre that’s a little bit weird, but it’s new and it’s exciting. I think it shows a lot about where the industry is going.”
“A Very Incomplete History of the Blue Planet” will be performed on March 3.
“Improv For A Cause”
For this show, the actors will participate in improvisation games, such as “Scenes From a Hat” or “Greatest Hits” from the show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” The format of this show will provide freedom for the actors and get the audience involved by letting them pick sketch topics. It is a break from the usual style of Sandbox shows and will be an opportunity to experience and showcase a different side of the arts.
Nole Beran, a junior theatre major and Sandbox’s director of programming and development, shared why he is looking forward to this show.
“It’s so different from what we’ve done before,” Beran said. “It’ll be very loose, without a set plan. So, I think that’s what makes it so exciting. It gives us a lot of room to work with.”
“Improv For A Cause” will be performed on April 1.
“Little Happy Secrets” by Melissa Leilani Larson
This play follows two childhood friends and their changing relationship. It brings up how LGBTQ+ issues interact with religion, specifically Mormonism. While it has many themes such as love, shame and guilt that are easy to relate to, this play also sheds light on topics that may be unfamiliar, such as growing up in Mormonism.
“Little Happy Secrets” will be performed on April 22.
This spring season is sticking to the organization’s mission of informing about important issues but also making new creative choices, like the addition of an improv show. Sandbox continues to be an important fixture on campus by providing opportunities for hands-on experience to theatre students and a learning opportunity for all involved.