Lawrence history through the archives

Stringfellow, Julia

The annual Cabaret and the International Dinner that follows it are coming up this weekend. The events – hosted by Lawrence International – have been described as comprising “an evening of exotic international cuisine and a celebration of food, music, and dance from around the world with students attired in their native garb.”
Cabaret and International Dinner first took place in the spring of 1976, and since then the events have been Lawrence International’s “annual showcase.” Back then, Lawrence International consisted of about 50 students. Today there are more than 130 members. Since its inception, Cabaret has become a popular Lawrence tradition – the show almost always sells out, with hundreds of people in attendance.
In years past, Cabaret has been staged in the Memorial Chapel, Stansbury Theatre and the Memorial Union, now Memorial Hall. Cabaret has featured performing arts from India, Laos, Mexico, Japan and China. Audiences have experienced a wide variety of African dances, as well as traditional Nepalese, Irish and Mexican dances. Student ensembles such as the Sambistas frequently appear on the program as well. Another traditional feature is a fashion show, in which students model traditional wear from their native countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America.
The first Lawrence International Dinner was a great success, and it continues to be very popular. The dinner is usually attended by upwards of 100 people. It has taken place in both winter and spring terms, and was held at Lucinda’s in Colman Hall until this year, when it was moved to the new Warch Campus Center.
Both Lawrence staff and students have served as chefs and have baked, roasted, toasted, simmered, stewed and sautéed delectable dishes for the event. In some years, an hors d’ oeuvre and cocktail reception has preceded the dinner. Past menus have featured items from as many as twenty different countries.
Tropical fried plantains, Norwegian lobster soup, Indian murgh makhani, Turkish burakcin, Mexican salad, Russian dried fruit compote, sticky toffee pudding and Greek baklava have all figured on the menu. Beverages served have included fruit punch, wine and coffee. Members of Lawrence International often submit their own recipes. Dinner guests have often been serenaded by songs in Chinese and Italian. Other dinner entertainment has included folk dancing, skits and slide shows.
Countries that have been represented at Cabaret and the International Dinner include Columbia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Iraq, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey.
If you have never experienced Cabaret or an International Dinner, make a point of attending this weekend. Given this event’s popularity, let us hope it continues as a long-standing Lawrence tradition.