418 South Illinois Avenue, Carbondale, Illinois 62901, United States

(618) 457-5353

A historic visual and performing arts venue in downtown Carbondale, IL.


A Child's Christmas in Wales


3 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15
$10 Adults / $6 Students with ID / $3 Children 10 and younger
Doors and Bar & Concessions at 2:30


The Varsity is happy to present again this holiday season the classic Dylan Thomas holiday story “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” 

Actor and director Kevin Purcell of Cobden performs the story, and select students from the Southern Illinois Children’s Choir will perform throughout the piece; they are directed by Michael Arthur. The musical underscore was written by Illinois composer Tim Schirmer, who will accompany the performances on piano.

Each performance lasts about 45 minutes. Baldwin Piano and Organ Center is sponsoring both shows.

“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” was written by Welshman Dylan Thomas, who is lauded as one of the greatest of the 20th-century poets. The story is a personal, nostalgic and often comical recollection of past Christmases, evoking memories at every turn: the warmth of a family gathering – including odd relatives, the loveliness of a mistletoe-decked home, cats by the fire and the mischief of children left to their own devices.

In addition to more than 20 works for the concert stage, Schirmer has composed extensively for the theater – including 10 musicals, underscores for more than 50 plays and incidental music for more than 30 productions by the Tony-nominated American Players Theatre. His film/video work includes a score for the award-winning documentary “The Greatest Lakes.”

Purcell, a graduate of SIU, has been performing “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” every holiday season around the United States since 1977. He has worked professionally in Seattle and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest. He recently directed “The Yellow Wallpaper” for The Varsity.

Arthur is the assistant director and accompanist of the Southern Illinois Children’s Choir. He play keyboards for Lone Howl, and teaches privately.

Advance tickets are available at Eventbrite (see link below). They are not available in advance at the venue but will be available when doors open on the day of the show at 2:30.

Naughty & Nice Yuletide Drag Show


7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21
$6 adults, $4 students with ID, $2 kids 10 and younger
Doors and Varsity Bar at 6

To celebrate the holidays, the Varsity has scheduled a very special drag show.

The Naughty & Nice Yuletide Drag Show features comedy, dancing, singing, lip-synching and stories from the godmother of drag herself, emcee Blanche DuBois.

The high-energy show will be performed at the downtown performance venue at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. 

Joining Blanche on stage will be Holly Haliwell, Jodie Santana, Faim Lee Jewls, Akayla Peppers, Will Kummings and Kailey Kreme, who also is the evening’s greeter and hostess. 

This is an all-ages show, and The Varsity welcomes young people; however, the show is a little on the risqué side, and those 17 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The Naughty & Nice Yuletide Drag Show begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for students with ID, and $2 for kids 10 and younger. They are available in advance at Eventbite (see link below). Tickets are not available in advance at the venue but will be available on the night of the show, when doors and the Varsity Bar open at 6. 

Clare Killman Art Opening


Opening Reception
5-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13
Varsity Bar open at 5

The Varsity is pleased to announce a new art exhibit opening Friday. The work of Carbondale artist Clare Killman will be displayed through Sunday, Feb. 2.

Clare is a local philanthropist, public speaker, child welfare advocate and artist. She is an organizer with Carbondale Spring, and its influence manifests in her work. Her passion for time and the way experience leaves traces or impressions of itself in the faces of the elderly, her fascination with illustration, and her need to realize the surreal are all important to her work.

Clare’s exhibit at The Varsity is her third exhibition. She lives in Carbondale with her two partners, two dogs, and two cats.