Cullen Auditorium has proven to be a challenge to book. Anyone planning an event must reserve the space a year in advance.
This practice of claiming a space for venues in advance is not uncommon for event coordinators. In fact, it’s a “rule of thumb” that most sites are unavailable to secure locations at last minute.
Because of its high demand as a multi-use facility, the auditorium functions on a large scale for securing activities. Therefore, the procedure for retaining a spot is tailored to the professional world, just as it is for saving a spot in the Civic Center or Paramount Theatre.
Jacob “KP” Kilpatrick, junior Ad/PR major from Mesquite and captain of Sanctify, recently tried to book Cullen for the hip-hop group’s dance show. He said he hasn’t been able to get the dance group into the facility for a spring show since he’s been at ACU.
“I’ve never had a problem reserving it in the fall, only the spring,” Kilpatrick said. “And having a spring show that’s not in Cullen isn’t impossible. It just takes a little more work than usual and some focus.”
Instead, the Sanctify members performed in the Beauchamp Amphitheatre last week.
In this past year Cullen has housed 59 major events. Some events lasted two-three days while others lasted an entire week. The auditorium may seem empty at times, but the shows that occur take up a majority of its availability.
For example, the ACU Opera reserved all of last week to prepare for its performance. These preparations involve more than simply booking Cullen and rehearsing. They require completing tasks such as fixing the lighting, adjusting the sound system and constructing sets.
Tom Craig, director of student activities and productions, said there are a lot of variables event coordinators must consider when organizing an activity. Things such as weather conditions, holidays and other activities happening in the community could significantly increase or decrease the event’s attendance. He advised that coordinators first work with the performers to find a reasonable date and then immediately put a hold on the spot in Cullen.
“You have to think about all of those things,” Craig said. “Successfully managing an event is a learning process.”
Craig has already begun planning out next year’s official schedule for Cullen, with events ranging from Freshman Follies to the CORE curriculum’s presentations. He said there are events in Cullen planned until the summer of 2015, so anyone wanting to have a performance in the auditorium must think ahead.