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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Student stories come alive in play produced by alumnus


“First Person: Diverse Student Stories,” a play based on the real experiences of students, held its third round of performances in Old Main Theater Feb. 23 to 24.

Actors reenacted the stories of real students, portraying  personal accounts of straying from the status quo in the United States.

Before creating the play, assistant professor of journalism Maria McLeod gathered students’ stories. The play was directed by alumna Karee Wardrop.

This production calls for attention to the topic of diversity, but delivers its message in a different way than a physical protest, Wardrop said.

“ One of the things that’s nice about art is it gives people a little bit of separation from being right in the thick of things,” Wardrop said. “You can sit in your chair and take it in and be able to internalize it, then have something to think about, reflect upon and be touched by.”

The stories touched on topics such as gender identity and being a student of color.  

As the director, Wardrop thinks hearing these stories is an important step for education about diversity. They tell a different narrative most people don’t hear and don’t seek out, Wardrop said.

“Now more than ever we need to really know each other.”

Alumna Karee Wardrop

Wardrop said. “The political climate’s a mess and if we don’t take really direct steps on issues like this, things will get worse, because things are getting worse.”

Sophomore Alondra Hernandez attended the play for the second year in a row to hear these stories again. The performance touches on very emotional and personal experiences that are hard not to get attached to, Hernandez said.

“People can voice their emotions [through the play] and sometimes that’s really hard to do,” Hernandez said. “I feel like this helps people [have] a voice on campus.”

Sophomore Citlaly Ramirez attended the play because she believes diversity is an important topic to address. She said the play lets viewers hear students’ experiences  as ‘outsiders’ and shows people to be mindful of others’ stories in life.

“Knowledge is power,” Ramirez said. “The more we know about people and who we interact with helps us. I think it’s a nice way to be more aware of all of the diversity that is not only on campus but in the country.”  

Telling these personal accounts through theater lets others be aware of what is going on, Ramirez said. It also addresses the issue of diversity without putting the students who share their stories in an uncomfortable position, Hernandez said.  

“It made me realize that it’s worse than I thought it was. I actually didn’t know people went through that [in Bellingham], Hernandez said. “There’s definitely more out there than I thought.”



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