Volume 93, Issue 5

Friday, June 11, 1999


Tory elitism 2 - Democracy 0

Performance arts are priceless

Performance arts are priceless

Re: Student council cuts upstage campus theatre, May 28

To the Editor:

The University Students' Council's decision to amalgamate Purple Patches and the Gilbert & Sullivan society will hurt the Western performing arts community. I don't appreciate the message it sends on my behalf as a Western student, that performing arts are not important at this university.

Yes, both Patches and G&S produce shows with music. Operetta and musical theatre attract different audiences. These two companies do not drain Western or London audiences. UWOpera (a credit course not funded or governed by the USC), for the past two years, has played to soldŠout houses.

Patches is the loss of a 90 yearŠold tradition and a great breeding ground for talent and volunteers. Some Patches alumni are now professional performers at the Stratford Festival. The "new" Theatre Western will decrease volunteer opportunities that are available to students who receive "onŠtheŠjob training," while a Western undergraduate pays $75 annually to fund varsity athletic teams that are accessible to a very small percentage of the student population. I would love to redirect $75 of my money to help fund Patches or G&S.

Finances, finances. By only funding one production a year for the "new" Theatre Western, did the former USC VPŠstudent affairs suppose that Theatre Western will now be able to afford to stage Rent or The Lion King? A cost saving measure could include the reduction of the number of performances. And if the USC is so open to funding numerous productions, as stated by VPŠstudent affairs Steve Zolis, why not reverse the decision?

Sadly, this is happening to theatre companies across the province. The value of performing arts is being measured financially by individuals who don't understand its worth. This uneducated decision made by the USC proves, once again, that Western students are nothing more than a commodity of the corporation of the USC.

Erin Grainger
Music II

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