In Depth: University Union Performing Arts

University Union Performing Arts, Seth Meyers 2013

University Union Performing Arts

is responsible for bringing speakers and comedians to campus each year. In its earliest stages, the board was actually two different boards, University Union Speakers and University Union Comedians. The boards eventually combined to create University Union Performing Arts. As a board, the directors focus on bringing diverse acts to campus, focusing on attracting a large audience as particular issues affecting students today are discussed. The board seeks partnerships within the university in order to cross promote events and reach target audiences. With these partnerships, University Union Performing Arts has been able to build relationships and focus on national issues through their shows.

The typical set up for the Performing Arts schedule includes one speaker and one comedian a year. The events are typically held in Goldstein Auditorium, with tickets typically priced at five dollars ($5.00). Events for speakers either include a moderator, or the speaker will prepare a presentation and speech about his or her organization, cause, or work. Comedians present their stand up routines in the typical manner. Given a stage and whatever props they may require, comedians are given free reign to perform whatever material they would like. In the cases of Bo Burnham and Demetri Martin, the only accompaniment they needed were two musical instruments and a sketchpad and easel, respectively.


In the spring of 2012, University Union Performing Arts attempted to expand their reach. As Goldstein Auditorium only holds fifteen hundred people, the board wanted to venture beyond a show of this size. The shows are typically only open to the Syracuse University/SUNY ESF students and faculty, but in 2012, the organization announced that Aziz Ansari would be performing at the War Memorial/On Center. In an effort to engage a larger audience than just the university community, the show was open to the public.

In previous years, the Performing Arts board has steered clear of hosting events at off campus locations, but on rare occasions, there were events held at the Landmark Theater. These events seemed to go over well for the greater Syracuse community, as they were an attempt to connect students and residents of the city of Syracuse. While these events are less frequent, the organization has been committed to finding ways to increase the capacity of shows and bringing new talent to entertain the Syracuse audience.

The Performing Arts board hopes to expand its reach even more, and as University Union adapts to its new status as the official programming board of Syracuse University, all of the programming boards are working towards amplifying the quality of their shows. For Performing Arts, the new status gives the board a boost and a means to shine as a division of University Union.





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