Theatre major Caitlin Belforti ’13 finds a home in AUPAC.

By Caitlin Belforti ’13

When two-time Tony Award-winning actress Christine Ebersole calls your venue “state-of-the-art,” you believe her. Daphne Rubin Vega, who originated the role of Mimi in Rent, came to campus three years ago and had the same sentiments. “I’m jealous of you guys that you have this p lace,” she said. As a 19-year-old freshman theatre major, I was in disbelief that one of my personal heroes of theatre could possibly envy me. But they both have a point.

My venue is the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center—the AUPAC, or, simply, the PAC, as the performing arts students refer to it (ourselves as PAC rats). It opened in 2008, the same year I began at Adelphi.

For me, the PAC is not just a fancy space. It is home. It is not a place I step through gingerly, marveling at its architecture. It is where I have trampled through late to class in my sweatpants, lazed on the couches in the lounge exchanging loud laughter and quips with friends, and snuck out of late at night past closing time after practicing a monologue, giving a sheepish grin to the maintenance staff. It is a place where I have jumped for joy after seeing a cast list and sat in the hallway and cried from the crushing disappointment that comes with rejection.

As is common with a home, I’ve probably taken the PAC for granted. Now that I’m about to graduate, I see how lucky I’ve been to have it.

Before the PAC, the music, dance and theatre students were dispersed across campus, often in makeshift spaces. Today, as a theatre student, I have access to the black box theatre, a newly renovated Olmsted Theatre and the rehearsal room. Pre-PAC, theatre majors had just one practice room—Studio B in Post Hall.

Bringing dance, music and theatre students together in one place has given us all a stronger sense of identity and community. We have more opportunities to support each other in our different art forms. The same day that my music major friend attended my first directing scene, which I had worked on all semester, I was in the Concert Hall snapping my fingers to his jazz concert. The dance majors are sure to enjoy our plays in Olmsted, just as we theatre majors sit mesmerized in the same seats to see what they come up with at Dance Adelphi. This sense of respect is cultivated by the simple fact that we have a place to go and practice our art.

I am not the same person who first stepped into the PAC in the fall of 2008. It has been a long journey, filled with highs and lows. Through all of it, though, one thing has been certain: I had a home, and for that I will always be grateful.

Excerpted from the Adelphi University Magazine Spring 2013 edition

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