This article has been updated for accuracy.
The way undergraduate theater has worked at Brandeis up until this year will be restructured in the fall of 2017.
“Up until this year, the UTC [Undergraduate Theater Collective] was comprised of six distinct clubs: four that produce plays in the Shapiro Campus Center Theater and other locations on campus, one sketch comedy group and one techie collective. Beginning this fall, the four clubs that previously each sponsored their own productions will merge, and the shows and events they would have produced will now be organized by the UTC itself. The other two clubs will branch off and remain chartered by the university,” according to UTC Coordinator Gabby Lamm ’17.
“The existence of four distinct clubs that each produce their own separate shows is no longer an efficient way for us to create undergraduate theater. In recent years, we have become significantly short staffed for techies, which put an unfair strain on the few techies we did have, who found themselves responsible for designing and building every UTC show. We began to address that issue this year by reducing the number of shows we produce in the SCC Theater per semester, and with that change, we have realized that a more centralized structure would lead to a much more organized club that could better address other issues we’ve faced, including the fact that many people who are not currently in the UTC do not feel welcome to join,” Lamm continued.
A top priority in the restructuring has been “preserving the goals and values of each individual group,” according to Lamm. They have designed the new collective to “reflect what the student body is looking for at that time,” according to next year’s UTC president Tres Fimmano ’18.
When the combining of the undergraduate theater groups was first proposed, “many members of the UTC were concerned about potentially losing the identities of the individual clubs” as well as their positions on UTC sub-groups’ E-boards, according to Lamm. Taking those concerns into account, “the club leaders and members have worked together to channel those concerns and address them alongside the other improvements we were already working to make,” Lamm continued.
Starting next year, the UTC will have one large E-board composed of 14 positions. “The specific interests and values of the former UTC groups will be represented in the new UTC constitution, and will be carried out in the responsibilities of all of the new E-board positions,” Lamm said.
There are also some positions specifically reserved for first-year students to ensure that the new group is welcoming to newcomers and with the hope that the UTC will be open to a variety of voices and people serving on the E-board, according to Lamm and Fimmano. They also aim to serve the entirety of the student body that wants to be involved in undergraduate theater.
“The new UTC structure will improve the issues the UTC has faced in previous years, while preserving the underlying values and goals that characterize the UTC,” Lamm said. They hope to ensure that the values and aims of each club are properly reflected in the constitution.
Fimmano’s primary goal for the coming year is to make the changes effective and easy so that nothing is a burden. “Ultimately, I’d like to see that by the end of next year we can see that we’ve improved the UTC for the long term by laying this groundwork,” Fimmano said.
However, this structure needs at least 14 dedicated people to fulfill those E-board positions to run the new commission in addition to any non-elected members of the UTC to help it run as efficiently as possible. “Every year, new people show up with a new level of excitement and enthusiasm, and it’s great watching those people end up in E-board positions that allow them to channel that excitement to building the UTC,” Fimmano said.
“One of the reasons I have faith that the UTC will continue to thrive after I graduate is because I know they will always have people who care about the club, about undergraduate theater and about the amazing opportunities that the UTC provides for Brandeis in general,” Lamm said.