Student Arts Org. Feature: UNC Pauper Players

By Eve Golecruz

One of our Arts Everywhere ambassadors recently got the opportunity to interview Maria Cade, Pauper Players’ Executive Director of Production. Read the story below to find out more about the student organization and how you can join!

Arts Everywhere: What does Pauper Players do?

Maria Cade: Pauper Players is the first student-run musical theater company at UNC, formed in the 1980s. In a typical year, 4-6 musicals are performed in several venues within the community, including the Arts Center in Carrboro. Some of our known performances include the Rocky Horror Picture Show hosted every year at Varsity Theatre!

Image shows students on stage for Bonnie and Clyde (2018)
Bonnie and Clyde (2018)

Arts Everywhere: How has your organization adjusted for COVID?

Maria Cade: Last year, we luckily were able to perform our show early in February, before everyone was sent home because of the pandemic. Now, we’ve mainly focused on creating virtual shows; we’ll rehearse over Zoom but for the final performance, we record it beforehand and then stream it for everyone. So this past fall, we partnered up with the 4 other student-run theater companies and created a UNC student theater collaboration, producing various shows including a virtual student-written web musical. And then this semester, we’re working on solidifying another virtual show set to be performed in April.

Shown here are actors on stage for a production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2020)
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2020)

Arts Everywhere: How long have you been involved in Pauper Players, and what is your favorite memory?

Maria Cade: I’ve been a part of the Pauper Players since my first semester and I really found my home at Pauper. My first semester, I didn’t actually get into any of the main stage shows, but I was able to join the Pauper Players troupe and still got to perform theater. I really loved the people and my best friends at UNC are actually through Pauper. So now being the executive director of production, my favorite part is just the people I get to meet and the fact that we’re all able to share a love for theater and a love for performing!

Into the Woods (2018)

Arts Everywhere: How can students get involved?

Maria Cade: Social media! A lot of our publicity and announcements can be found on our social media and through meetups that we host over Zoom. Anyone can get involved, no experience needed! If you’re interested in acting but there are no roles available, we would still love for you to join the team and get involved backstage. You can follow Pauper Players on Facebook (@UNCPauperPlayers), Instagram (@UNCPauperPlayers), and by email (

Ghost Quartet (2019)

Arts Everywhere: What would you tell people who are interested in joining Pauper Players?

Maria Cade: To anyone who’s even considering to audition for a show, just audition! Audition for everything you can because you’ll never know what the director, crew, etc. are looking for and that way you can just get the most out of your experience. Come ready and with an open mind; everybody on Paupers executive board are so willing to help and answer questions, and we’re so ready to welcome everyone with open arms! For anyone interested in the production side, there’s so many different teams and facets that you can get involved in, and there’s really just something for everyone.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (2019)

Arts Everywhere: Finally, is there anything else you’d like people to know about Pauper Players?

Maria Cade: Yeah! In addition to the shows that we do during the semester, this spring we’re planning on doing some really cool things with our alumni. One of the awesome things that we’ve been able to do given the pandemic is reach out to alumni and connect them with our current members through Zoom. We actually have a lot of alumni who have gone on to be in Broadway shows and perform professionally, so we’re hoping to have a few panels/webinars to answer and give advice to current students. Definitely look out for that!

You can find more about UNC Pauper Players at any of the sites below!

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