The Ohio University’s Undergraduate Playwrights Student Organization, or SOUP, is a group of people who are passionate about drama, who make friends and join a club where they can let their creative side shine. . Each month, the organization produces an evening of short plays, all imagined by the members of the club who can do everything: scenario, acting and staging.
Becca Shelley, a playwriting student, is SOUP’s production manager. She has only been involved for a year, but already she has only positive things to say about the club.
“I like that SOUP is very inclusive because it brings in people who maybe didn’t have an interest in playwriting before,” Shelley said. “The biggest thing I love about SOUP is the community and the support.”
Shelley hopes to see new members join, encouraging all majors to take a look around the club and find a space that suits them. Although she is a playwriting major herself, she notes that anyone with a background is more than welcome.
“It’s a place to make games for all creative levels,” Shelley said. “It’s a great opportunity to explore creativity and acting with little commitment.”
Molly Stewart, a freshman film student, has joined SOUP and already feels encouraged and supported by the club. She emphasizes the inclusive aspect of SOUP which makes her feel like home.
“It’s a place where anyone can learn and develop their abilities as a playwright. It can put me at ease and acclimate me to the format of the scripts and the structure of the pieces. said Stewart. “It’s an opportunity that OU has.”
Between the members collaborating on new pieces, coming up with ideas and getting to know each other, one thing stands out: SOUP wants to be known as an open space with little censorship. No idea is too eccentric for the band. In fact, this month’s play, which opens October 1, is called “Snapple Facts SOUP” and is driven by facts about Snapple drink lids. Another piece in the past includes “Shakes-queer– a parody of Shakespeare’s plays.
Brenna Daugherty, SOUP’s administrative director, and a senior Spanish and drama student, said not only do they meet once a week, but SOUP also hosts other fun events. Some of these events even gave him the chance to get out of Athens and network with professionals.
“Right before COVID, me and a few other SOUP members were in Chicago for a playwriting conference,” Daughtery said. “I met a lot of professionals in the field. Every year we also have this thing called the Twenty Four Hour Festival, which is a good challenge where we all collectively choose a theme and then you have twenty-four hours to write it, produce it, cast it, direct it and put in a performance.”
SOUP is OU’s only student-run playwriting organization, and has deep roots here as well, having been around in some capacity since 2007. It teaches and develops skills for use in the professional field of theater and in everyday life. We hope that SOUP will continue to exist in the years to come and will continue to attract those who seek creativity and a group in which they have the opportunity to be themselves without shame.