Brown Bag threatened by budget cuts
January 5, 2010 6:01 PM
Brown Bag Theatre productions at San Francisco State University have been adversely affected by the budget crisis like so many other programs on campus. Trouble is, they barely had a budget to begin with.
"Brown Bag runs off of the heart and soul of its company members. Basically we barely have a budget; all of the materials we use have been used in previous productions. We usually just get the scraps and make do with what we have," said Tea Toplak, senior and theatre arts major.
Brown Bag students have made the best of the dwindling resources by writing, directing, and being their own technicians during the performance process. In prior semesters, this has kept the company going but fear spreads as the budget cuts in the department become imminent.
"I've heard that we're pretty close to being cut because we have no budget for it. And if we don't have two people to run it it's going to fall through because it's a lot of work for one instructor to take over. And it's just such a great part of our department. It's one of the best things our department has to showcase our work," said Shay Wisniewski, theatre arts major.
Cindy Dihn, writer and director of Used Conceits, the most recent piece to be performed by the company, put a brown bag at the door of the theatre at each performance in hopes of supplementing the money for next semester.
"Before the semester started it was suggested that we try to take donations from the audience members from every show," said Dihn.
There are few opportunities for theatre majors to engulf themselves in a hands-on repertory experience. Brown Bag allows students to hone their skills but also brings culture and free theatre to campus.
"We need to have a certain amount of production hours that are required to graduate and without the opportunity to participate in Brown Bag we could be stuck here forever as graduation slips further and further away," said Toplak.
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