For the past 10 years, the Maryville College chapter of Alpha Psi Omega (APO), a
national theatre honors society, has existed but not as an official chapter. According to
current president, senior Cameron Hite, the MC chapter of APO lost its membership
status in 2003 when dues were not paid to the national office on time, and past APO
presidents “lost what it meant to be a theatre arts honors society.”
However, MC’s APO chapter was able to regain its membership status in the summer
of 2014 and current members now hope to expand the society to become a larger part of
both the MC theatre department and the college community.
Current treasurer, senior Sarah Bond, stated that reactivating Maryville College’s
chapter of APO was an uphill struggle.
“No one had really heard of it, myself included, until I was invited to become a
member. We were basically starting from nothing except maybe a cabinet of random
things like glitter and paper umbrellas.”
However, headed by alumni and former APO president Rachel Jarnagin, who both
Bond and Hite credit as being a driving force behind APO’s complete turnaround, and
aided by faculty advisor Heather McMahon, APO was able to begin its transition into
becoming an official chapter again.
APO then had to create budgets for the year so that the society could not only provide
monetary funds for theatre majors’senior thesis performances and events such as improv
workshops and parties, but also have money to fund a trip to the Southeastern Theatre
Conference, a major theatre event where college students are allowed to audition for
judges and create job contacts for possible jobs or internships in both acting and technical
positions around the U.S.
Apart from simply funding senior thesis shows, APO members now strive to be
involved in every aspect of these performances. Members are now required to work on
all senior thesis shows in some capacity, giving them as well as volunteers interested
in theatre a chance to work on a show that is almost solely designed, directed, crewed,
motivated and performed by Maryville College students.
From Oct. 3 to Oct. 5, for example, Cameron Hite will be performing “Impulse,” a
comedic one-man show that he wrote about a young man named Jake recounting his
memories of growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome, based on Hite’s own experiences.
APO members have not only designed “Impulse”, but also worked in crew capacities
doing tasks such as publicizing the show and finding props and costumes for it.
“It’s doing theatre for the joy of theatre,” Bond said. “Because it’s hard and a lot of
work, so we need to love it a ton to do it.”
Outside of the theatre community, APO members also hope to expand its activities
to include the rest of the student body. In an effort to connect with a wider community,
APO now has its own Facebook page where events and shows that the entire campus can
attend can be found.
This year APO is working to put on several large events for the entire community. On
Oct.18 in the Clayton Center Plaza, APO will be hosting a yard sale where old costumes
and props that have been donated over the years are being sold for cheap prices, just in
time for Halloween. Then, on Oct. 30, the day before Halloween, as part of an effort
between student organizations on campus to work together, APO will be hosting and
performing a Haunted Ghost Tour of the campus for both students and members of the
Both Bond and Hite agree that the foundations have been laid for APO to become a
prominent member of the MC theatre department as well as the campus community.
“By the time I leave, I want it to be impossible to fall behind like we did before,” Hite
said when asked about his goals for APO’s future. “I want to make it strong enough to
continue for decades after we’re gone.”