from The Daily Iowan - Thursday, September 28, 1989
In the fall of 1985, a group of theater majors headed by artistic director Todd Ristau and stage manager Cheryl Snodgrass created a performance forum on Friday nights at 11:00. It was held in the back of a pickup truck, using motorcycle headlights for illumination. In response to the various restrictions in the theater department, and the need for creative outlets, this group of students wrote, and acted, impromptu, uncensored, and without shame. This was the beginning of No Shame Theater.
Today No Shame Theater has grown in popularity and participation - and it now receives full support from the theater department. And as a result of No Shame Theater's popularity and recognition, Ristau, a graduate student, is spending this semester in New York city, after being asked to start a No Shame Theater at the Home for Contemporary Theater and Art.
Snodgrass is currently the producer of No Shame Theatre, overseeing the performance, running the lights and dealing with the administration. Snodgrass is thrilled with the increased participation in No Shame, as creative pieces come in from theater majors, English majors and anyone else who wishes to explore their talent as a writer.
"No Shame allows writers and actors to keep working at their craft," says Snodgrass. "One problem with theater is that people are constantly sitting around waiting for an opportunity. This way someone can be constantly working and expanding their creativity."
Snodgrass adds that writers can further develop their ideas, and get first-hand reactions from the audience, whose participation is the key to No Shame Theater's success. Snodgrass herself has learned to run her own theater, which she never thought was possible. At the end of this semester Snodgrass will produce the Best of No Shame Theater, for which two dollars' admission will be charged to aid future No Shame productions.
Half an hour prior to performance time, stage manager Ashley Runnels accepts scripts from writers. The scripts must be typed, and about three to five minutes long. No Shame Theater accepts about 15 pieces a night, and there are absolutely no limitations on the material brought in. Actors can be recruited from the lounge, and by 11 p.m., they're ready to roll. Runnels sets the order of production, and makes the announcements.
The result is a wonderful display of new talent. If you're a writer, an actor or just looking for exciting, original entertainment, go see No Shame Theater.
No Shame Performances are held each Friday night at 11:00 either in the lobby, on the steps or in Theater B of the UI Theater Building.