Abigail Aldridge’s commitment to the Student Theatre Organization


Submitted by Abigail Aldridge

When coming into the position as president, Abigail Aldridge made it her duty to find ways to improve STO for the better.

The Northwestern State University of Louisiana Department of Theatre and Dance is known for the elaborate productions that it puts on for the city of Natchitoches, but inside the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts is the Student Theatre Organization (STO), a student-led organization that puts on its own performances.

The organization is run by president Abigail Aldridge, a senior theatre major, who has been helping make changes for STO and bettering it for the students inside the organization.

Aldridge has been president of STO for the past two years. Before that, she served one year as the Make Your Own Theatre (MYOT) co-chair. When coming into the position as president, Aldridge made it her duty to find ways to improve STO for the better.

“STO is an organization here on campus and our central focus is theater, which is all kinds of theater, where we do two productions, one show in the fall and one show in the spring,” Aldridge said.

Though STO is a theater-based organization, it is not just limited to theater majors. They also allow outsiders to come in and perform as well, or even help behind the scenes with the production.

For Aldridge, STO is where she has found many of her friends and a connection with people in and outside the department.

However, STO suffered the impacts of COVID-19 and needed a revival. When Aldridge was put into the position of president, she made it her mission to bring STO back to what it used to be.

“When I stepped into the presidency I knew that there were a few things that needed to be done to get our numbers up, I knew that we needed to start doing shows because we were the only University that I knew of that was actually doing some sort of production,” Aldridge said.

Her first show to bring back into production was “Firebringer,” where they were able to have a total of 18 people in the cast, which was one of the biggest casts that they had up until their production of “Mamma Mia.”

“Another thing that I did to help bring people in was made it to where we did not have meetings once a week,” Aldridge said. “Since our schedules are super busy it was hindering our organization because no one was able to fit it into their schedule, so now we only have meetings every two to three weeks which has definitely improved.”

Aldridge has even worked to make it more structured for the students, so they feel like they are more involved in a club and not just paying a $10; fee. She has made it so that members get initiated.

“Since I have rewritten our constitution we have new bylaws and new expectations of our members, and I made it to where you are not a complete member until you have completed one whole semester of STO, and when you have completed you receive a STO pin,” Aldridge said.

Even with all their hard work and motivation, Aldridge was able to work with their budget after doing fundraising and bring their budget from $100; to $900; for each production that STO puts on.

Aldridge has even made the organization more comforting for the members where they are able to connect to each other more one-on-one and create a bond with everyone there.

“I really wanted to create a space with everyone where we are all able to share our love of theater together and be able to bond with each other. By doing that we have hosted movie nights and we have continued to do STO originals,” Aldridge said.

She has even been able to take many students who did not know much about theater and help them grow into the thespians that they are now.

“By creating these bonds and having one-on-one sessions with other students in the organization I have helped and taught them so many new things like teaching them how to read music and now they understand what exactly they are reading,” Aldridge said.

Since it is her last semester as STO president, Aldridge just hopes that the tradition and love that has been spread throughout the organization for the past two years continue to live on.

“I really just want to be known as the person who changed STO for the better and that everyone knows what STO is, as well as knowing that I helped create these amazing traditions,” Aldridge said.

Aldridge feels very confident that after she graduates and moves on in her life that she has left STO in the hands of people whom she can trust to carry its legacy.