Africana Theater Lab hosts its first Masquerade Ball

Guests+listen+to+a+monologue+at+the+masquerade+ball+hosted+by+the+Africana+Theater+Lab+Sept.+23%2C+2022+at+the+SIU+Student+Center+Ballroom+in+Carbondale%2C+Ill.

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Guests listen to a monologue at the masquerade ball hosted by the Africana Theater Lab Sept. 23, 2022 at the SIU Student Center Ballroom in Carbondale, Ill.

The Africana Theater Lab will be hosting its first Masquerade Ball on Sept. 23 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom B.

Cameron Noel, the president of the group and a second-year graduate student said he joined the theater lab after attending a black networking event and hearing it was coming back after a period of inactivity. Noel said the purpose of the theater lab is to promote black theater on campus.

“We did monologues at Ebony Ball. We did monologues at the Black History Month kickoff, and we had open mics to let other students perform as well. But our main goal this year is just to put on some theater, some black theater, some diverse theater,” he said.

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The Africana Theater Lab participated in a lot of events last year to show off the members’ talents, but now wants to get into expanding, he said.

According to Noel, the Masquerade Ball will not only help spread the word about the theater lab, but also give new students a chance to enjoy a night of theater. 

“We were told about black experience through the BAC (Black Affairs Council) and they kind of told us to think of some really unique and exciting experiences and events to get the incoming freshmen excited. So my vice president thought about this and I thought it was a great idea,” Noel said.

The event will have a variety of performances put on by masked performers and allow students to network with the theater students.

Dwayne Freeman, a second year student and vice president of the group, said, because the theater lab is just now coming back, members thought a ball would be a great way to reintroduce themselves to the campus.

“I really just want to promote us in general as the theater department like “hey there are African-American actors here” and not even just African-American people. I know there’s a lot of people on campus who are drawn to the theater department but just don’t know where to go or how to get their foot into the door and I want to just have those resources open for people,” Freeman said.

Freeman said the ball is not only to promote the lab, but to promote the upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet

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“So I really just wanted to have this party to have a mingling, networking session where it will be a night of performances, food, drink, music,” Freeman said. “So I really wanted to bring people together to look in and get a chance to mingle and us as theater students a chance to promote ourselves and hopefully promote [the] Romeo and Juliet production.”

Freeman said, this ball will bring like-minded individuals together to enjoy a night of theater and really get to know what the Africana Theater Lab has to offer to SIU.

“We want to let the student body know that Africana Theater Lab is back with a passion and we are committed to presenting diverse and creative perspectives on campus,” Noel said.

Tickets will be available to purchase on Eventbrite and available at the door the night of the Masquerade Ball. For attendees with masks the entry price is $3 and for attendees without masks it is $5.

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