The Undergraduate Theater Collective (UTC) recently passed a vote to only offer two mainstage shows per semester for the 2016-2017 school year. Mainstage shows are the major shows for each individual club within the UTC, performed in the SCC Theater.
The UTC is made up of performing groups Brandeis Ensemble Theater (BET), Brandeis Players, Hillel Theatre Group (HTG), Tympanium Euphorium (Tymp), Boris’ Kitchen (BK) and the “techie” club, Behind the Scenes.
Each week, at least 2 e-board members from each club meet at a commission meeting, where they discuss overarching UTC plans and activities, as well as check in with each individual club. The meetings are run by an elected UTC Coordinator and Communications Director. This year, Noah Suchoff ’16 and Gabby Lamm ’17 respectively fill those positions.
Tymp and BET will each have a mainstage show in the fall, while HTG and Players will hold their mainstage shows in the spring. This reduces the number of mainstage shows usually performed each semester, as in the past every club has been eligible for one. This plan does not include UTC founding club Boris’ Kitchen, which will still have a show in the SCC Theater during the last weekend of each semester, confirmed Lamm in an email to the UTC on Thursday. Additionally, “special events” such as the 24-Hour Musical, Quickies and Brandeis Cares will not be affected.
According to the notes on commission meetings added to the UTC’s website each week, changes to the UTC’s structure were first proposed on Feb. 8, 2016. The original proposal offered a similar reduction in mainstage shows, but with added administrative changes. The proposal called for the voluntary dissolution of each individual club within the UTC in order to create a streamlined production and funding process. The structure would include eboard positions such as Production Director, Communications Director, Finance Director and Diversity Director.
Commission notes show that on Feb. 29, members discussed more “short-term” solutions that would be less radical than the earlier proposed changes. In the commission meeting on March 14, the group voted for the reduction in mainstage shows. The new plan aims to address the theater community’s “current shortage of resources and feelings of exclusivity between the clubs,” said Lamm in her email.
However, one UTC member who wishes to remain anonymous has doubts about the effect that the new system will have on inclusivity.
“With the new changes, there will only be two mainstage shows per semester, which limits opportunities for all actors, but completely eliminates the chances of the UTC sponsoring something like an all-Black production, because it would drastically cut opportunities for the white majority that runs the organization,” they said. “With one straight play and one musical per semester, it becomes a challenging situation because if we have one show that just features people of color or another marginalized group, then that cuts opportunities for white actors by half, but if we don’t continue to choose shows that center people of color or other marginalized bodies, then the opportunities for those folks disappear.”
In the “off-semesters,” groups will aim to sponsor shows in alternate spaces, some of which have already been booked, Lamm said.
The UTC meets for commission on Monday nights.