Theatre in Silicon Valley: Santa Clara Univ & Stanford

Submitted by Laurie:, rising high school senior  We toured two college campuses today: Santa Clara University and Stanford University. Due to my interest in the Performing Arts, Dr. Stone organized a private tour of the Theater and Dance Department at Santa Clara University with the Theater Technician, Mr. Robert Steiner. He showed us around the amazing facilities of the department, including a theater that seats 500 people, a costume room with ten sewing machines, a green room, props room, sets room, rehearsal area, a smaller black box theater for student-led performances, and a lecture classroom. Mr Steiner also showed us that the theater was extremely well thought-out; If a certain row of seats in the theater are lifted, a small tunnel is found that will lead you backstage. The smaller black box theater mainly serves for student performances and can fit up to 130 people.It has two catwalks with light stands that can slide from one side of the room to the other, something I’ve never seen before. Next, we saw the dance studio, which can easily fit fifty people. They have cameras in the studio to record student choreography so that teachers can fix their technique errors immediately and with a more visual approach to learning. I particularly loved when Mr. Steiner opened up the theater just for us and had me stand directly on the stage, so that I could clearly picture myself performing at Santa Clara University. He told us that the regular campus tour does not enter the Theater and Dance Building, so knowing that we had a unique tour made it a truly memorable experience. Next we had lunch at the Adobe House through Dr. Stone’s Faculty Club reservation. We then stopped by the student dining hall and the library, and entered the church during a Mass Service. One thing that amazed me was how beautiful the campus was kept. With freshly mowed lawns, rose gardens and palm trees surrounding the campus, I truly felt like I was in heaven!

Next, we visited Stanford University and had a drink at the Co Ho, a hip student coffee house located in the heart of the campus. Despite the fact that it was summer, the campus was very alive and made it a pleasant experience. We toured around the Campus Loop, and learned about The Row, the student housing buildings that are University-operated or student managed. We also passed by the beautiful Hillel Building, one of the biggest Hillel buildings I’ve seen yet, and saw the Dinkelspiel Auditorium, used by the Music Department, and which serves as a lecture hall and rehearsal area. It can seat about 700 people. After that, we met with a Stanford student who talked to me about the difference between a Theater major and a Theater and Performance major. The Theater and Performance major she studies is more focused on an anthropological approach to performance, studying why certain people with different backgrounds act and perform the way they do. This was an interesting view of performance I had never thought of before.

We toured the campus in depth, seeing the many different types of housing Stanford offers, including the Governor’s corner, the Cowell Dorms, The Munger Graduate Residences. Stanford has a lottery system for housing and students have choices of co-ops, theme dorms, apartments, and houses.  A lot of the houses have their own chefs!  We also saw the Stanford Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation (ACSR) being built and the huge pool they were building next to the gym. Lastly, we saw the new Windhover Contemplation Meditation Center, one of my favorite parts of the tour. This building is used by all students and staff for quiet reflection and/or meditation throughout the day.