These cuts will cut deep


The U of R Theatre Department is anticipating extensive budget cuts

Kristen McEwen
News Writer

According to University of Regina’s theatre department head, Kathleen Irwin, one of the things that will be affected by budget cuts this year is the free admission for students wanting to attend theatre productions on campus during the year. Admission for non-U of R students costs $10, while adults pay $15. 

“Ours shows are fully performed and designed by students,” Irwin said. “Lights, sound – often with original musical compositions – sets, costumes, elaborate projections when needed – the works.”

Irwin added the final productions are a collaboration between multiple faculties within the university. 

When the department produced Eurydice during the 2010-2011 school year, computer science, engineering and music students helped out. In last year’s productions Much Ado About Nothing and Schoolhouse, visual art, media production and studies, and music students teamed up with theatre students.

“And our auditions were open to all students on campus,” Irwin said. “We had students from all over working with us … We also worked with First Nations University to release a mini festival of new plays by First Nation playwrights.”

This year, the theatre department is producing two shows, Fear and Misery in the Third Reich at the Shu-box Theatre from October 31 to November 3 and November 8 to November 10, as well as The Birds at the University Theatre from March 13 to 16.

The Fine Arts Students’ Association will be holding a referendum later this month to ask students the question, “do you support the fee of $0.25 per student per semester for free admission for students to attend all university theatre productions?"

“In order to produce quality work that offers a worthwhile training experience for student actors, designers, technicians, et cetera, our shows can cost up to $10,000 each." – Kathleen Irwin

Irwin said that if such a fee were to be collected from students, the money would go towards producing the shows.

“In order to produce quality work that offers a worthwhile training experience for student actors, designers, technicians, et cetera, our shows can cost up to $10,000 each,” she said. “In addition, we have to recover from box office returns, in total $6,000, to cover the cost of using – essentially renting – the University Theatre.”

The theatre department hasn’t had free use of the University Theatre space since first moving from the old campus to the new one in 1998.

While the fee of one quarter per student per semester will mean the cost of admission for theatre productions will not be entirely free – some students don’t mind the price.

When asked, five out of five students said they would pay the fee.

“I would be in favour of it, but I would have to add that I don’t use the theatre department just because of my schedule and I’m off campus and all that …,” said Colin Phillips, a fourth year environmental studies student. “Twenty-five cents isn’t going to break anybody and I think it’s good for other people to be exposed to the arts.”

“I’d be willing to. Like, who wouldn’t be willing to pay 25 cents,” said Sam Kitzul, a first year education student.

“Oh most definitely, absolutely,” said Ian Bruce, a third year computer science student. “I go to the productions, so 25 cents for all of them is a pretty good deal, I think … It’s a fairly small trade-off, that’s for sure.”

Irwin said the theatre department feels strongly about maintaining open access to its theatre productions on campus as it provides a low-cost way to see entertainment, gives students a chance to come together as a community, and gives international students a chance to experience a different culture.

“It provides an evening out and enriches their lives during the winter when it is sometimes difficult for them to go off campus,” she said. “Theatre represents who we are in so many ways!”

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