The theater inside Grace Hall is no longer meeting the needs of theater director Neal Newman’s ambitious goals for the communications department in the area of performing arts. Newman said, “I would love to work with Cabrini students on productions like ‘Noises Off,’ ‘Black Comedy’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ but I can’t.”
According to Neal Newman, the director of theater, due to a lack of money to fund a new theater, Cabrini faculty, students and the surrounding community can only enjoy productions at the college that don’t require second floors, stairs or trap doors.
President Antoinette Iadarola, who is a major fan of the arts, has included a new theater in the college long-term strategic plan; however, a donor has yet to be found to fund the theater, leaving the project’s commencement date to be determined.
Senior Tanya Tumaian, an English and communication major, sympathizes with Newman. “I think that is sad because there are probably plenty of secondary education and English majors who will teach ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in their future classrooms, but will never have the opportunity to work with or see a production of it in their own school’s theater,” Tumaian said.
Iadarola empathized with the fact that talented students might choose to go elsewhere because of Cabrini’s outdated theater and therefore under-developed program; however, Iadarola believes, “Prospective students continue their education at Cabrini in order to be a student first.”
But are performing arts not just as essential and integral to an educationally-based institution as academics?
Karen Harlin, a Cabrini alumna with a degree in professional communications and vice-president of Cultural Interchanges, an arts-oriented non-profit organization in Wayne, said, “Involvement in the performing arts teaches things much broader and unique. It gives the opportunity for students to stretch their imaginations and build confidence, poise and speaking skills.”
In order for Cabrini to execute a plan to “build sufficient facilities that would allow unlimited performances and enable students to train in technical theater construction, lighting, scene shop and costumes to help land Cabrini as a candidate in the College Theater Festival at Kennedy Center in Washington, the school would need $7 million in funding,” Newman said.
The Dixon Center, which is a multi-million-dollar complex and is keystone to the college’s sports clubs and programs, was financed by generous donors, as is The Center for Science, Education and Technology, which is also a multi-million dollar complex and currently under construction. Cabrini participated in fundraisers and used collaborative decision making in order to accelerate these projects, according to Robin Moll, vice president of institutional advancement.
Moll would love to see a new theater built, but she also mentioned a demand for parking spaces, a new library, a new dormitory and a campus center, which are some projects included in the future campus strategies.
“Cabrini has shown a commitment to the fine arts with renovations to Founders Hall.” Moll said. She also admits, “There are a lot of dreams for the campus and the long-term plan is being constantly reevaluated. There are a lot of tough decisions. The question is ‘How do we best steward them?'”
It all comes down to a few things. How intent is Cabrini on remaining a service learning, core-valued, modestly refined liberal arts school?
And who is going to pay for it?
Posted to the web by Ryan Norris