The Kulas Graveyard


Editors, Claire Schuppel, Grace Sherban, and Corinne McDevitt snap a photo in the mirror. (photo by Claire Schuppel.)

Corinne McDevitt, Social Media Editor

Walking into the Kulas auditorium is taking a step into a storied past that John Carroll has scorned and forgotten: Moth-eaten costumes, cobweb-covered props, water-damaged ceilings and empty seats. Posters of musicals line the entry wall, dating back years and then abruptly stopping.

When I committed to John Carroll University in 2019, I was under the impression I would be getting a well-rounded degree from a strong liberal arts university. As it exists presently, John Carroll is not that school. 

In my four years, I watched the Art History department forced out, the theater program erased and arts painted over in the name of progress and profit. As a school, we find ourselves entrapped and enamored by the promise of fulfillment in money. We starve and scrap our arts department while pouring time and focus on fancy buildings and bowler hats. 

Keith Nagy served as an Assistant Professor and Producing Director of Theatre from 1996 until his retirement in 2017. I met him in the Kulas Auditorium where he still assists in the limited usage the auditorium receives. Nagy laments the fate of the Arts at John Carroll and reminisces on a better time, saying “I was a part of over seventy-five shows in my time at John Carroll.” After Nagy retired, his position was never refilled. The trend appears as other arts faculty retire, their positions have been left vacant. 

Claire Connelly is one of the current four Adjunct Fine Arts Faculty at John Carroll University. She remarks: “I’m very grateful for my classes and for my students. I see a lot of potential and further interest for theater and the arts in the students I teach in voice. I send them to a community theater in the area as John Carroll does not offer anything like that anymore.” 

Connelly is hopeful for a resurgence of the arts of John Carroll, telling The Carroll News “I am excited to be offering a new class called: American Song Broadway Stage in the fall. So that’s definitely a step in the right direction for a brighter future.”

The ghost light still shines bright in Kulas Auditorium, guiding the performances of the past and, hopefully, lighting the way to a better future. A future where the arts are not a thing of the past, but the shining centerpiece they deserve to be.