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My experience with Purdue Performance Collaborative

Friday, September 25, 2020

Hello beautiful people! Welcome to my first blog post! I’m really excited to use my first blog to tell you about one of clubs I’m involved in on campus – Purdue Performance Collaborative. In high school, I was very involved in Drama Club, both on and off the stage. I have loved theatre and performing since I was a little girl, so naturally I didn’t want the curtain to close when I received my diploma.


Zoë Schardan, Haden “Spaceboy” Eckbert, Maddy Howerton, Michael Wasem, and Justin Cherry in rehearsal for “Homebrewed”


From left to right: Haden “Spaceboy” Eckbert (co-director), Andrew Fahrenbach, Alexandria Shinkan, William DB, Libby Correll, Joshua Hainer, Zoë Schardan, Maddy Howerton, Helen Coats, and Carynton Howard (co-director), after a performance of “Defying Gravity.”

Although I really enjoy theatre, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to pursue professionally, so I didn’t want to join a production that would involve too much of a time commitment. I found the Purdue Performance Collaborative at the B-Involved Fair my freshman year, attended the callout that following Thursday, and auditioned for the play they were putting on that semester the following week. I was casted as Essie in “You Can’t Take It with You.”

Purdue Performance Collaborative is the only student-run theatre organization on campus. Still relatively new, the PPC puts on free plays and musicals for the student body to enjoy. These shows have student actors, student directors, students running lights and backstage, and some of the shows being performed are even written by students.

This organization has introduced me to a group of genuinely kind and wonderful individuals from a variety of different backgrounds and majors. I showed up to the first rehearsal not knowing a single soul on the Purdue campus, and I found an amazing group of friends by the time the cast took our final bows after the last show. The PPC has helped me gain confidence and has taught me a lot about friendship and dedication.

helen-and-i.jpI enjoyed the experience so much that I auditioned for a show that following spring and was fortunate enough to receive a role in “A Night of One Acts.” It was during this show that I met the incredibly talented and kind Helen Coats, who is now the president of this organization. Helen is currently a senior in Creative and Professional Writing with a minor in French. I asked Helen to share her experience with the PPC, which she has been an active member of since her freshman year:

“Coming into college, I hadn’t done theatre since early on in high school, but I thought that it was the right time to get involved with it again. I didn’t know anyone in the club, so it was pretty scary at first, but I really found a family there. The PPC is a group of wonderful and fun people who care about theatre but recognize other obligations. It’s just a bunch of friends coming together to work on something amazing.”

Helen also helped write “Dark Roast Comedy,” a play that was set to be performed last spring. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled when Purdue shut down for the pandemic. The script took several months of writing and revising, but their hard work paid off and Helen says that it has helped her to be a better writer, better leader, and it was a major contributing factor to her position as president of the PPC. “Co-writing and directing ‘Dark Roast Comedy’ was one of the biggest things that has changed me in my life, and it was really neat to see the show come to life, even in the first reading of the script.” Helen has had the opportunity to play a variety of different roles, both in and out of the spotlight, and has been someone to look up to.

While the PPC will not be performing any shows this semester, due to University safety regulations around the pandemic, we still have meetings over Zoom where members can interact, de-stress, and play some theatre games! Interested Purdue students are encouraged to follow the PPC on social media (@ppctheater on Instagram and Purdue Performance Collaborative on Facebook) for updates and announcements. In my time at Purdue I have been lucky enough to be involved in a variety of different extracurriculars, but Purdue Performance Collaborative will always hold a special place in my heart!

Back row: Patrick McGillen, Jeff Ye, Katie D’Adatto, Omnya Zaman, Helen Coats, Kaiden Pilkenton.

Front row: Grace Steward (director), Kellie Hageman (assistant director) – “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”

Haden “Spaceboy” Eckbert (assistant director), Hosley Werner (director), John Schmidl, Cole Ellis, Helen Coats, Katie D’Adatto, Jacob Metz, and Jacob (Cast of “The Twilight Zone: The Obsolete Man”, adapted for the stage by Hosley Werner)

Nicolle Kain

Nicolle Kain is a junior from Beecher, IL with a double major in Marketing and General Communications and a minor in English. On campus, Nicolle is a Team Leader for Boiler Gold Rush, a Protect Purdue Student Ambassador, VP of Public Relations for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

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