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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

SJVC Fresno sets the stage for laughter and charity

April 2, 2014
When Fresno campus staff member Nancy Hale was asked by the Campus Director to start a drama club, she happily complied.

SJVC Fresno’s latest efforts to support the local Boys and Girls Club show not only a high level of commitment to community involvement and student activity, but also to creativity…and drama.

The Fresno campus Upstage Club is relatively young, with an early 2013 start date, but it has shown that age has little to do with action.

“It was supposed to be a community thing to get students involved,” says Nancy Hale, the club’s creator. “It’s fun to be able to communicate on this level, to bring staff and students together, as equals.”

Casting is open to students, staff, and faculty, so instructors can act alongside their students.

After choosing a play and rehearsing, it is time for the players to perform before their classmates. Each play runs roughly 30 minutes, and each will show 3 times, enabling students in morning, afternoon, and evening class sessions to attend.

The tickets cost $2 each, or $3 for two. The turnouts are significant, filling the Fresno Campus lecture hall to the brim.

“It’s not a huge cost to put them on, so the profits can go to charity,” says Nancy.

The most recent play was Cleft for Me by Maurice Berger, a comedy and social commentary meant to make the audience laugh as well as reconsider their own priorities.

The money earned from the production is given to the Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County. The most recent production’s profits sent a number of boys and girls to the Annual National Keystone Conference in Anaheim, when otherwise the organization would not have had enough to send them all.

Fortuitously enough, the most recent cast included one student who, in their youth, benefited from the charitable work of the Boys and Girls Club.

The campus is quite proud of being able to help in this way, all the while adhering to its core values and instilling a care for community in the minds of its students. It sets a great example for this next generation of professionals.

“It really helps to build community,” says Nancy.

With the most recent production finished, it is now time to hold auditions and pick a script for the next production to run in July. So far, the Drama Club has put on four plays, but plans to hold many more. The club plans to hold three plays every year.

On a bittersweet note, the club will soon be losing many of its members, as the players graduate from their programs and pursue new careers. Upstage will need more students to take their place.

“Everyone else in the club appears to share my love,” says Cullen Dagatan, student and club participant. “I would encourage you to join if acting is something you’re interested in.

We can hardly wait to see what they put on next!