Over 50 Elon students, across majors, came together to create, produce and perform original student pieces highlighting LGBTQ+ stories and communities. 

The three-day arts festival started Feb. 17 and will continue through the weekend. The showcase evolved from Elon University senior and Lumen Scholar Jack Morrill’s research project “Queer Theory in Arts Administrative Practices: How a Queer Values Lens Could Change the Way Theatrical Organizations Operate.”

Feb. 18
"Masque" dance, Robert's Studio Theatre – 12 p.m.
"Devine" devised theatre, Center for the Arts Black Box – 4 p.m..
"Drag Mosaic" drag show, Tap House – 10 p.m.

Feb. 19.
"Masque" dance, Robert's Studio Theatre – 3 p.m.

The festival features nine original student projects, including dance pieces, poetry, a photo exhibit, play, short film, cabaret and a drag show. There is no registration needed and all events are free to attend. 

Morrill said they hope this event helps students find a sense of belonging on campus. 

“The goal of this is to give people the opportunity to find community or build community, or give them tools to build community after this,” Morrill said. 

Junior Tommy Pegan and sophomore Summer Severin worked together to direct and produce “Beyond the Rainbow,” a cabaret performance on Friday that they said challenges the audience to rethink their perception of LGBTQ+ stories and stereotypes in musical theater. 

“I think that this cabaret will really open a lot of eyes for how to interpret text and how versatile musical theater can be, and just art in general,” Pegan said. “There's no one way to look at things.”

Severin said she was excited to see the ways this festival will strengthen Elon’s LGBTQ+ communities, especially for students who feel isolated in their identities or are still navigating who they are.  

“What we want to do is bring people that are queer and on campus and hiding in their little corners in their dorms and thinking that there's no one else like them on campus,” Severin  said. “The performing arts is such a queer space and such a supportive space and it's just been a joy. And I can't wait for this weekend to just fulfill all of my queer Elon dreams.”

Morrill has spent the last two years working on this research project, and hopes their efforts will inspire others on campus to host LGBTQ+ events and continue to forge connections with one another. 

“I have no control over what happens after this festival ends, after I leave,” Morrill said. “Ideally … people look to do more of this stuff on their own.”

From their research, Morrill has been creating a guide book that examines how queer theory can be implemented into arts administrative practices.

As Morrill prepares to graduate, they said that this project was one of their most impactful experiences at Elon. 

“I think this project really made my time here feel full,” Morrill said. “I'm leaving this university with no regrets, with no what ifs, and I think that's because I was given this opportunity to create this piece of work.”