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She Stoops to Conquer
Oliver Goldsmith
Performed April 15-19, 1997* at the Burtness Mainstage Theatre

All images on this website are copyright ©2007 University of North Dakota Department of Theatre Arts.

* Due to the Red River Flood of 1997 this production was cancelled after the April 17 performance.

Design Team
Director- Bruce Jacobsen
Scenic and Lighting Designer- Greg Gillette
Costume Designer- Katherine Jacobs
Sound Designer- John Weninger
Properties Design- Roxanne L. Skarphol
Hair and Makeup Design- C. J. Hosier
Technical Director- Loren J. Liepold
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Production Staff

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Special Narrative about the Production

The historic flood of April 1997 closed the University of North Dakota for about a month.  Theatre Arts suffered minimal damage; only some costumes were lost as a result of minor flooding (about 3”) in the Burtness Costume Storage room (Burtness Room 4) and the Southeast corner of the Lab Theatre, thanks to quick action from Theatre Arts students, faculty and staff.  The Department was in the middle of the run of She Stoops to Conquer when the decision was made to close the University and cancel the remaining performances (possibly the first time in UND history that a production was cancelled before the run was completed). 

The preliminary effects of the flood actually began to hit days before the floodwater.  As the production moved closer to Tech Week reports from the news talked more and more of the potential of significant flooding.  High schools were letting older students out of school to sandbag low lying areas.  Tech Week saw more dire calls for help with bagging and flood protection duties.  Students at UND, including scene shop students, were taking time off to work in flood-prone areas, which served as reminders to all that conditions were not normal and there was a constant swirl of concern in the back of most people’s minds.  Even as the show was going up few members of the production company were able to give full attention to the task at hand.  The show opened on Tuesday April 15.  The next day Costume and Scene Shops were closed and students and staff normally working on post-opening cleanup instead went to work with flood crews then checked back late in the day on the status of the show.

On Friday April 18 it was decided to cancel the performance due to flood concerns.  Later it was announced that the University would close for the remainder of the semester.  Laurie Hinn, the Stage Manager, was in the Costume Shop around 9:00 p.m. Friday April 18, making phone calls to cast and crew to inform them that the remaining performances were cancelled when she heard the sound of water running and found a leak in the spiral staircase stairwell on the Southwest corner of the building and 2-3 inches of water on the floor in the room.  After calling Acting Chair Gillette, Technical Director Liepold and Costume Designer Kathy Jacobs, the room was emptied out and clothes were hung on the lighting pipes in the Lab Theatre, which soon looked more like a used clothing shop than a blackbox theatre.  Floodwater was diverted to the Northwest corner of the building where sump pumps were able to keep ahead of the incoming water.

The following morning most of Grand Forks was evacuated as floodwater inundated the city and much of UND.  University electricians, as a matter of safety, were on the way to shut off power to buildings.  They were told that Burtness was taking on water but that pumps were doing their job.  It was decided that the electricity would be left on in Burtness, which probably saved the building from significant flooding, though mold levels in the building were found to be the highest on campus.  Chandler, with no below grade rooms, suffered minimal damage from the flood in steam and service tunnels.

For a couple of weeks following the flood there was no access permitted to Burtness and Chandler, as well as all other campus buildings, out of general concern for safety.  Exterior locks were changed to keep out all but essential Facilities personnel.  By early May the buildings were reopened and work began to restore Theatre Arts spaces.  Top priority was working on costumes, first evaluating items damaged by floodwater then deciding what was salvageable.  The work had to be done fairly quickly, before mold had a chance to set in and contaminate the items.  Improving storage conditions was a primary concern.  It was estimated that Theatre Arts owned almost a quarter million dollars in costumes and that about $3,000- $5,000 were lost.  Post-flood funding allowed the addition of costume storage racks in Burtness 4 and additional shelves were added in Dressing Rooms 3A & 3B.  On the Mainstage a minimal crew struck the set from She Stoops to Conquer.  The job, normally done by a shop crew of about 20 in a couple of days was performed by the Technical Director and a couple of hired students over the course of a couple of weeks.

       Liepold, Loren, Theatre History at the University of North Dakota.  Grand Forks: University of North Dakota, 2008.  Page 15.

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University of
                            North Dakota
Loren Liepold, Technical Director
Department of Theatre Arts
Chandler Hall, Room 5

3280 Davis Drive, Chandler Hall; Stop 8136
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8136
TELEPHONE 701-777-2865
FAX 701-777-3522