A ‘dynamite’ year: BYU’s West Campus creates immersive Napoleon Dynamite experience


BYU’S West Campus has been transformed into a perfect replica of Napoleon Dynamite’s high school. 

This year marks the film’s 20th anniversary, and BYU’s Theatre and Media Arts Department is making sure no one forgets.

The film Napoleon Dynamite is a cult classic. The indie comedy was born from the creativity of a handful of BYU grads and a donated camera.

“We want to do something special for the students here, something that makes them feel like this is a special place,” Theatre and Media Arts administrator Kyle Stapley said. “Students can feel like they’re in an immersive, in-the-film kind of experience.

Stapley said Napoleon’s punchlines are still landing with BYU students, even 20 years after the film’s release.

Students painted lockers, displayed memorabilia and hung posters. For some, including arts student Paige Northrup from Colorado, the decor is a way to liven up the temporary home arts students have found at West Campus.

“When I came in and saw that they had painted all the lockers … I didn’t know it was a Napoleon Dynamite thing … I just thought they were finally bringing some light and life into the building,” Northrup said.

For others, the props and paint are a heartfelt tribute to the film’s cast and crew.

“We’ve had a couple of the crew members come and speak to our students here,” Stpaley said.

Theater and Media Arts administration said they hope the vibrant lockers and goofy posters will lead to a “dynamite” year.

“We hope our students can tell just as interesting stories as Jared and Jerusha did 20 years ago,” he said.

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