The Student Organization of Undergraduate Playwrights, or SOUP, at Ohio University is a group of people with a passion for plays, finding friends and joining a club where they can let their creative side shine. Every month, the organization produces one night of short plays, all dreamed up by the club members who can do it all: script, act and direct.
Becca Shelley, a senior studying playwriting, is the producing director for SOUP. She has only been involved for a year, but already she has only positive things to say about the club.
“I love that SOUP is very inclusive because it brings in people who might not have an interest in playwriting before,” Shelley said. “The biggest thing I like about SOUP is the community and the support.”
Shelley hopes to see new members joining, encouraging all majors to take a look into the club and find a space within it that works for them. Although a playwriting major herself, she makes the point that anyone with any background is more than welcome to join.
“It’s a place to create plays for all levels of creatives,” Shelley said. “It’s a great opportunity to explore creativity and theater with low commitment.”
Molly Stewart, a freshman studying film, has joined SOUP, and already feels encouraged and supported by the club. She emphasizes the inclusion aspect that SOUP has which made her feel right at home.
“It’s a place where anyone can learn and expand their abilities as playwrights. It can get me comfortable and acclimated with the format of scripts and the structure of plays.” Stewart said. “It’s an opportunity that OU has.”
Between members collaborating on new plays, proposing ideas and getting to know one another, one thing stands out: SOUP wants to be known as an open space with little censorship. No idea is too eccentric for the group to put on. In fact, this month’s play, opening Oct. 1 is called “Snapple Facts SOUP” and is prompted by the facts on the lids of Snapple drinks. Another play in the past includes “Shakes-queer”– a spoof of Shakespeare plays.
Brenna Daugherty, the administrative director for SOUP, and a senior studying Spanish and theater, said that not only do they meet once a week, but SOUP puts on other fun events as well. Some of these events even gave her the chance to go outside Athens and network with professionals.
“Right before COVID, me and a few other members of SOUP were in Chicago for a playwriting conference,” Daughtery said. “I got to meet lots of professionals in the field. Every year we also do this thing called the Twenty Four Hour Festival, which is a good challenge where we all collectively pick a theme and then you have twenty four hours to write it, produce it, cast it, direct it and put it into a performance.”
SOUP is OU’s only student-run playwriting organization, and also has deep roots here, as it has been around in some capacity since 2007. It teaches and develops skills for use in the professional field of theater, and in everyday life. SOUP will hopefully continue to be around for years to come and will keep drawing in those who seek out creativity and a group in which they have the opportunity to be themselves unapologetically.