When he stumbled across a copy of the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club (HRDC) constitution a few months ago, Vice President Kenneth P. Herrera ’03 says he didn’t immediately recognize it.
“I hadn’t seen it until this summer,” Herrera says.
But last night, the group’s re-discovered constitution came into the spotlight as HRDC members voted to amend it for the first time in six years, mandating that future HRDC-produced shows involve a marginally higher percentage of Harvard affiliates.
Currently, 50 percent of those working on a production must be Harvard undergraduates.
But after concerns over increased non-Harvard participation in the last year, HRDC members voted last night to require that 60 percent of cast members for all shows in the Loeb Drama Center are “Harvard affiliates and alumni.”
Tonight, HRDC members will gather to vote again, this time to select a new leadership to assume the reins of their organization—which some say has always had trouble deciding exactly what its role should be.
And as they begin to define their purpose on campus, HRDC leadership will need a “specific agenda,” says HRDC member Michael M. Donahue ’03. In the coming year, the leaders selected tonight will prepare to lobby for the resources they need, work with other arts on campus and—all the while—make student theater better.
Fight for Facilities
Student theater has long struggled to secure space on campus.
More recently, theater groups have also begun to contemplate how to work more closely with other student arts, like dance, music and visual arts.
“Everyone stands to suffer when anyone’s group loses space,” says Adrienne M. Minster ’04, a leader in the dance community. “Actors, dancers and musicians are seeking each other out to make art together, when the community stands to lose a lot.”
Beyond performance venues, undergraduates compete with professionals and graduate students for limited storage, rehearsal and construction spaces.
According to Robert J. Orchard, managing director of the American Repertory Theater (ART), which shares the Loeb with the HRDC, lack of space for the performing arts is a “dire situation.”
The crunch comes partially as a result of the current and future loss of spaces, like the dilapidated Hasty Pudding building, which has been awaiting renovation by the College since it purchased the space in 2000.
The ART’s lease on part of Harvard Square’s Unitarian Church basement, which is used by graduate students at the ART’s theater training school, will expire in two years, according to Orchard. With that space gone and no solution in sight, the graduate students’ impending “emergency situation” will only exacerbate the campus-wide crunch.