Pipe Dreams Alive and Well

Nora Kocher

Last semester the buzz around campus was that Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre was on life support. Word spread through email, social media and old fashioned word of mouth that the popular student run theatre company could be closing its doors due to a lack of leadership. However, fans of Pipe Dreams can rest assure that it won’t be going anywhere, and that it promises an exciting spring semester filled with bold and daring productions as we’ve come to expect.

According to Pipe Dreams Production Manager, Mikey Mulhearn, the theatre is undergoing what he calls massive turnover, as many of its leaders graduate and move on. The vacancies on the executive board represented a huge responsibility, as Pipe Dreams is entirely student run, and members of the company were hesitant to step forward for the roles before careful consideration.

According to Artistic Director, Grace Barnett, word of the unfilled roles, which “was never supposed to leave Pipe Dreams,” began to spread and people began to speculate about the future of the company.

Though Barnett emphasized the shared desire to keep the inner-workings of the company professional and confidential, she and Mulhearn both saw a silver lining to these rumors.

“Pipe Dreams, being a student-run venue, thrives on the passion of the students involved,” Mulhearn said. “The mere suggestion of uncertainty for the company was enough to ignite a fire in company members who may have always wanted to take on exec board roles, but was hesitant for one reason or another.”

The new executive board consists of Barnett as Artistic Director, Mulhearn as Production Manager, Blanca Hernandez as Managing Director, Pierre Walker as Director of Development and Alana Lovely as Marketing Director.

“The group of people we have now are just very excited; there’s a great energy about it this year,” Barnett said.

Pipe Dreams will resume its 2012-2013 season in April with “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”, which goes up April 5-7, and then conclude with “Cracker,” an original play. The current season has been exploring the theme of “Plunge,” with shows that look to delve into the ways we, as Mulhearn puts it, “come to terms with topics we typically avoid,” such as violence, identity, stereotypes and change, to name a few.

Last semester this theme was explored in the musical, “Love Kills,” and later in the angst-filled “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.”

“The world premiere of “Cracker, taking place April 26-28, is going to shock audiences, but hopefully in a very positive way,” Mulhearn said. The musical, shortened simply to “Trailer Park,” is “insane, and definitely the lighthearted show of the bunch.”

Anyone interested in learning more about Pipe Dreams is encouraged to check out its website, www.pdtheatre.com. There, you will find information about how students with many different talents and levels of experience, and regardless of their majors, can get involved with the company.

“It’s honestly one of my favorite things about Millikin,” Barnett said.

Fortunately for its many fans on campus, Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre is not in any danger of collapse. Rather, it’s evolving and thriving, and will continue to give enthusiastic students the chance to run a company while giving audiences their healthy dose of thought-provoking and innovative theatre.