The Theatre School Annual Scholarship Fundraising Gala

In 2017, The Theatre School at DePaul University decided to transfer its annual scholarship fundraising gala from a hotel ballroom to an in-house multi-floor extravaganza that focused on the various disciplines offered by the school. With the Dean of the school (John Culbert) functioning as client and director of event, and student designers functioning as design teams per location in the school, we set out to craft an experience for the attendees who would be donating that night.

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Gala guests came through the lounge-style scene shop and paint deck of the school for hors d’oeuvres and drinks before heading into the Fullerton (now Watts) Theater, a 250-seat mainstage. The show for the fall was Into the Woods, so attendees were treated to the opening number and speeches from various DePaul administration and alumni, including John C. Reilly.

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

After the presentation in the theater, patrons were brought upstairs through the decorated scenery freight elevator to enjoy not only dinner in the Healy Theater (a 100-seat flexible black box) but to view selections from the school’s educational tracks. For instance, an acting lab housed presentations of the design process for Into the Woods, while next door movement rooms had fight choreography or movement to music exhibitions. Across the hall, there were costume displays and a makeup demonstration room.

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Media

In the end, it was a successful evening of showing every type of Theatre School student (pulling a sample of 150+ volunteers throughout 13 different locations) truly in their element. We raised over $250k for student scholarships and created a new DePaul tradition.