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Audience members become performers at Cringe Night

Inga Aleckson (‘18) reads an old journal entry for the audience at Cringe Night.

Inga Aleckson (‘18) reads an old journal entry for the audience at Cringe Night.

Natalie Nelson (‘19) | Chips

Natalie Nelson (‘19) | Chips

Inga Aleckson (‘18) reads an old journal entry for the audience at Cringe Night.

Natalie Nelson, Staff Writer

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ArtHaus hosted Cringe Night at The Courtyard & Cellar on Friday, March 16. Eighteen readers took turns reciting embarrassing old poetry, Facebook posts, journal entries, and even songs.

The night opened with Susie Wold (‘20) reading from an ABCs picture book she wrote in elementary school.  She shared her letter G, which read “Goose: about the size of a microwave but bigger.”  Two readers later, J.J. Schrick (‘19) played his guitar and sang a song he wrote in eighth grade titled “I’m Looking out the Window.”

Executive Director of ArtHaus Shannon Dallenbach Durbin was in charge of planning the event.  She said the annual event used to take place at ArtHaus, but because of their lack of seating space, it was moved to the Courtyard & Cellar.  Over 60 people bought tickets for $5-$10 to the event.

“We have the sliding cost because we want the event to be affordable, but it’s also good to support art in the community,” Durbin said. “So people can pay different amounts depending on what they are willing and able to pay.”

Natalie Nelson (‘19) | Chips
J.J. Schrick (‘19) plays a song he wrote in eighth grade.

Durbin said the most exciting thing about Cringe Night was the fact that the event drew people of all different ages.

“Community members came to read and so did college students,” Durbin said. “We didn’t get as many high school students because they’re still writing this stuff, so it’s aimed at a little bit of an older crowd.”

Durbin said she liked the fun, casual atmosphere of Cringe Night.

“Cringe Night is all about having fun,” Durbin said. “I think a lot of people think they don’t want to share and then, as they realize what the atmosphere is like, more people want to share.  I’ve had people leave the event to find their journal and come back. I was too nervous to share the first time, but I shared last time and now I want to do it again and again.”

Durbin said a last-minute flux in the number of performers happens every Cringe Night and is the most challenging thing about planning the event. Only seven readers were signed up to read at the beginning of the night, but as people began sharing, more and more attendees elected to perform. Performer Emma Buddecke (‘21) hadn’t originally intended to read.

Natalie Nelson (‘19) | Chips
Executive Director of ArtHaus Shannon Dallenbach Durbin reads her old diary.

“The more I heard people read embarrassing things, the more I realized how many embarrassing things I have done,” Buddecke said.

Anna Streeper (‘18) said it was the first ArtHaus event that she has attended and that she and her friends all enjoyed it.

“I thought it was a really fun way to spend my Friday night,” Streeper said. “I appreciated that people from the community got to get up and share. That made it really fun. I loved hearing stories of people I knew too. It is definitely something I would do again.”

The next Cringe Night event will occur during the fall semester. Durbin is looking forward to her next event: a Poetry Slam with visiting poet Akwi Ngi. This will take place on April 27 at The Courtyard & Cellar.

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