Here’s why CSUN’s theater department does not utilize The Soraya


Kenji Kang

Students perform their plays during the “Weird Theatre Festival” at the Experimental Theatre of the Valley Performing Arts Center on April 15, 2016, in Northridge, Calif.

Brianna Arias, Reporter

The theater department at CSUN is known for the productions they put on throughout the school year. From iconic Shakespeare works like “Hamlet” to famous operas like “La Boheme,” the theater department is working year-round.

The CSUN Department of Theatre, alongside the CSUN Theatre Guild, utilizes several locations on campus to put on these productions, including the Campus Theatre, the Little Theatre and the Experimental Theatre.

The Experimental Theatre differs from the other two, as it is located inside The Soraya.

The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, also known as The Soraya, has supplied CSUN with a variety of performances, including live music, dance and drama.

The Soraya welcomes artists from the community, as well as international artists, but the main stage is usually not utilized by the CSUN Department of Theatre.

The preparation for a theater department production can take months, and hours of practice are necessary in order to guarantee that the actors know their lines and are prepared to perform in front of a large audience, according to Hans Weichhart, director of production at The Soraya. A production can run for multiple days and sometimes even weeks.

The Soraya is constantly booking performers outside of the CSUN community for one-day performances, making it difficult for the theater department to practice in the space, according to Weichhart.

“It makes it really hard for the theater department to be able to put on a show that is going to sit for a couple weeks. If we’re going to make that viable, then … the production has to be designed in a way that everything would get broken down, everything would have to fit somewhere, get stored offstage, to allow for our constant turnover cycle of shows,” Weichhart said.

According to Ah-Jeong Kim, the chair of the theater department, The Soraya’s main stage has not been used by the department for years. One of the last productions they held there was “In the Heights” in 2017.

The theater department produces approximately seven productions annually. Kim thinks that it can be challenging producing one of these shows in The Soraya, as the department has limited resources.

“It is a bit premature to consider producing a large-scale show in the Great Hall, but when the situation improves, I’m sure my colleagues, as well as students in theater, would be excited at the idea of returning to The Soraya,” Kim said.