Beatnik Night

In the 1950s and 1960s, beatniks were considered young people who commented on societal issues through artistic expression. 

Students in Missouri Southern’s theatre department will revisit the beatnik era in the upcoming community outreach and fundraiser, Beatnik Night.

Organized by Southern Players, the department’s registered student organization, the event takes place from 7 to 10 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 26, at Joplin Avenue Coffee Company. 

This will be the department’s first community outreach and fundraiser of the school year, and is designed to benefit students who are in Theatre 372.

The course, known as Directing II, focuses the role of a director, including lessons on casting, production administration, and director-actor relationships. In the course, students gain experience through directing one-act plays for public performance.

Members of the public are invited to take part in the event. 

The night will be open to anyone interested in watching, as well as those who participate within the acts. Ideas for performances include music, poetry and monologues. 

The theme of the night is inspired by the Beat Generation through students’ passion for expression on the world. 

“These people were taking everything wrong with the world and expressing it through art,” said Kayley Baumhover, sophomore theatre major. “Our department has had its struggles the past couple years.

“We’ve been beaten down but we are strong. Art is strong. This area is a place for art.”

Baumhover said the department’s motto is a Shakespearian line “take pains, be perfect.”

“This night is very fitting to our mission,” she said. “Take your problems. Use them. They only make you better.”

Baumhover said students within the department want to express themselves and found paying homage to the Beat Generation was an effective method to use.

Since the theme of the night is beatnik, persons interested in joining the event, either as a participant or audience member, are encouraged to dress in a beatnik fashion. 

Turtleneck sweaters and capri pants were popular among men, while cowl necks, slim skirts and leotards were often worn by the women. 

This is the first Beatnik fundraiser. 

Baumhover hopes it will become an annual event, becoming an October tradition for the department and the community.

Persons interested in partaking in the event may reserve spots at $10 for the evening.

For more information, or to reserve a spot in the production, persons interested may contact Southern Players President Allison Dodge at DodgeA001@mymail.mssu.edu.

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