#ProfileWeek: UW Hotspot: Memorial Union Theater

A lot of work goes into keeping us entertained.

Madtown Lowdown | Wesley Cook | April 6, 2016

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Badgers past, present, and future love Memorial Union. It’s a beautiful construction project at its worst, and a timeless UW icon at its best. A lot of us grab ice cream, sit on the rocks by the lake, and don’t give the inner-workings a second thought. There’s a lot more going on than Der Rathskeller and The Terrace, however.

In honor of The Rival’s student profile week, I spoke with UW sophomore Kelsey Pulera. Aside from having the voice of a goddamn angel along with the other girls in Pitches and Notes, she also plays the cello. Kelsey’s third and final positive trait: she is this year’s special events coordinator for the Wisconsin Union Theater. This means she works out the logistics of special events booked in Shannon Hall and the Frederic March Play Circle (comedians, dance performances, high-profile shows, whatever she wants).

She and the other assistant directors work hard to bring the performing arts to the Union for a noble cause – to try and keep them alive. Kelsey is not alone in believing that people our age are less willing and excited to sit and watch a live performance. It has become a major goal of campus entertainment committees to integrate these arts into the student programming as well as the greater community, and extend the opportunities to those who otherwise may not experience them.

 “It’s the coolest thing I’ve done
since I started at UW.”

You can get involved in the process too – in fact, it would be great if you did. The Performing Arts Committee (PAC) is an organization open to the entire student body, and they have strong involvement in what goes on in those theaters. This is an opportunity that is definitely less accessible after you leave college. “If you know of a really cool artist you want to bring into this theater, send us an email. We program for students, and there are tons of ways to get involved.” We pay the tuition after all, so why shouldn’t we take advantage of what this group has to offer?

One of our biggest missions is to have
a very diverse set of artists.”

I made a new friend tonight and she’s really funny. #carlyaquilino #girlcode #wisconsinuniontheater #uwmadison

A photo posted by Kelsey Pulera (@kelseymargo) on

Through the PAC Kelsey has met Yo-Yo Ma, Carly Aquilino, and literal tons of other performers, with many still to come. She recalls kicking back with the Girl Code comedian when she did a set in Shannon Hall last September. Getting to know these real-world people who turned their passions into careers is Kelsey’s favorite part about her involvement in PAC, saying, “It’s a really great experience to see somebody’s skill and know that you could apply that to something in your life if you work at it the way that person has.” That feeling comes just from seeing the performances. The PAC wants to instill inspiration and encouragement in UW students by bringing in these established artists.

There are a lot of events coming up this spring:

Kelsey believes these diverse groups of performers acquired by PAC are shows we can enjoy, even if we aren’t well versed in gospel and jazz. Events are being booked months in advance–if you’re already planning for Halloween like both Kelsey and I are, you’ll be happy to hear that they’ve already planned the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and this coming year will be a good one.

The Wisconsin Union has a lot more to offer than many students even know about. Those on the inside strongly encourage students to get more involved, and check out some of the opportunities they’re missing out on. 


Featured photo courtesy of Kelsey Pulera (instagram: @kelseymargo)