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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 66, Number 1 (Oct. 1964)

Behind the footlights,   pp. [14]-[15]


Page [15]


Five students-four performers and a director-run through a final rehearsal
for one of the
Studio Plays given last season in the versatile Union Play Circle.
teachers, much better equipped to
handle the school play after what
they've learned here."
  The Play Circle has an important
educational role, Kentzler says,
partly because there's no problem
of economics there. "Theater in the
Play Circle can be done for purely
educational reasons. It does not
need to draw an audience to sup-
port itself. It can be strictly student
directed, designed, built, and per-
formed."
  The manager also stresses the the-
ater's role in adult education because
so many groups come in for con-
ferences in the theater during times
when the University is not in ses-
sion. "The campus is an ideal loca-
tion for conferences," he points out,
"because there is access to resource
personnel on the faculty, there are
dormitory and eating facilities near-
by, and the theater provides a good
meeting room." In order to use the
theater, groups must be sponsored
by a department of the University.
  The 25th season initiates a new,
specialized kind of education in the
form of a graduate fellowship from
the Sam    S. Shubert Foundation.
Under the terms of the fellowship,
a graduate student will intern in the
Union Theater for a year, working in
each of the major areas of operation,
one at a time, for several weeks.
With Mrs. Taylor, Kentzler, and
other members of the staff, he will
work with booking, contracts, box
office management, front of the
house management, backstage and
technical area supervision, produc-
tion, business management, and pub-
licity.
  The fellowship's purpose, Kentzler
says, is to train somebody who can
fit all the pieces of theater manage-
ment together and it is being of-
fered by the Shubert Foundation to
encourage study of theater manage-
ment in American     colleges. The
grant to the Union Theater was ar-
ranged by playwright Howard
Teichmann '38, who is cultural ad-
visor for the Shubert interests. Mrs.
Taylor sees the grant as a recogni-
tion of a quarter of a century of
effort to bring the professional and
college theater into focus at Wis-
consin.
   Graduate students in speech also
 hold more than half a dozen teach-
 ing assistantships from the depart-
 ment of speech which involves them
 in the operation of the theater, and
 some students are also employed as
 doormen and projectionists. In ad-
 dition, around 200 students usher as
 volunteers, in exchange for seeing
 attractions in the theater free.
   The 25th season of the Union The-
 ater also marks an increased op-
 portunity for students in technical
 areas as extensive construction pro-
 jects provide some badly needed
 space for- Wisconsin Players rehears-
 als and stagecraft work.
   Since the theater wing was built
in 1939, the basement underneath
the theater, which runs from the
lawn near the lake almost to the
edge of the theater wing facing
Langdon Street, has been used by
the theater and by Hoofers, the
Union outing club. Part of this area
has been used for dead storage. That
storage area has now been refin-
ished as an under-ground boat shop
for Hoofers with a railway system for
getting boats into the area for paint-
ing and repair work.
  The construction project also
means that the Edwin Booth room,
originally a rehearsal area, lately a
temporary costume shop, reverts to
a rehearsal room.
  The biggest space gain comes
from removing the bowling lanes
which have been directly under the
stage shop, dressing room, and of-
fices of the theater. Clearing this
area created three new rooms: a
costume shop, a rehearsal hall, and
space for scenery storage and some
kinds of construction. An elevator in-
stallation connects the scenery stor-
age area to the stage shop. A door-
way between the new rehearsal hall
and the costume shop allows greater
convenience for costume fittings
during rehearsals.
  This construction, in addition to
other refurbishing-a new act cur-
tain, and cyclorama, a modernized
sound system, improvements in the
stage lighting, new carpeting-is
typical of the effort, in an an-
niversary year, to look to the future,
as the theater moves toward its
second quarter century of excell-
ence.


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