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liwrsilay.nmmlxT 19.2009 • u' 

Timms tour reveals theatre history 


News Writer 

tarry Clark was amazed when lie first 
arrived at the University of Alherta’s 
Timms Centre for the Arts. A theatre 
with a backstage space of its magni¬ 
tude not only sets a high standard for 
students to live up to. but the facilities 
also allow students to feel the closeness 
of performing that is so conducive to 
learning, especially in the final prepa¬ 
rations leading up to the Centre's next 
show. Goodnight Descleinona (Good 
Morning luliei). 

The Timms Centre is a spectacu¬ 
lar building both inside and out. 
explained Clark, the Department of 
Drama's technical director, who also 
moonlights as a tour guide. The facil¬ 
ity is unique compared to other the¬ 
atres in its academic purpose. 

"It is run by academic schedules of 
the students, more than the theatre 
season.” Clark said, but also noted he 
doesn't mind the extra time necessary 
to get a show up and running. 

“It is about the journey." he 

Tlie Timms Centre was opened in 
1995 — extremely fortunate consid¬ 
ering tills was on the tail end of the 
last recession. Around the time this 
building opened, several other the¬ 
atres were substantially cutting costs, 
if not closing their doors. Clark noted 
how the facility is world class in many 
ways, with more backstage space and 
a bigger production booth tlian most 
"professional" theatres. The facility 
is perfect for teaching and allows six 
professional-level productions to be 
put on annually. 

Clark spoke very fondly of die pro¬ 
duction booth and its possibilities. The 

1 1 


THE SOUND OF SILENCE The Timms Centre stage sits ready for its next opening. 

area, built to lie a teaching space, is far 
larger than a standard booth, accom¬ 
modating upwards of 30 people if 
necessary, whereas most booth spaces 
accommodate three. 

"[We want students to have] enough 
experience to succeed at die profes¬ 
sional level," Clark said. 

To do this, performers must not only 
leam to act. bui to act professionally. 

"[Tlie level of professionalism] of 
the performers needs to meet the level 
of facility they are given. Here vve 
develop a great work ethic; they learn 
their [craft] but also learn to sweep up 
after themselves, literally." 

At tlie Timms Centre, it’s apparent 
that, while performers play an integral 
role, the behind-the-scenes crew is the 
lifeline of tlie theatre. The stock room, 
a room literally the size of a lecture the¬ 
atre. is filled with clothes, all catalogued 

and ordered, complete with a slxies 
room the size ofa student apartment. 

Without the students who design 
the sets and the props, and without tlie 
full rime staff who catalogue, sew, and 
occasionally build life-size swans out 
of wire and pool noodles, it's dear dial 
the productions would never get off tlie 
ground in fact, the set design and tech¬ 
nology end of t he theaire is a large area 
of study for many students. 

Working with the theatre has given 
Clark many fond memories, but he 
still recalls what ran through his mind 
when he first gazed out into its seats. 

"Did somebody miss something? We 
are about 12.000 seats short." he said 
“[But that's fine] because the goal [of 
the theatre] is to be an academic space 
[...] to make this the most effective it 
was important to keep the environ¬ 
ment intimate." 

Old payment agreements 
could be altered by policy 


"We have to work really hard to find 
the excess money, which could lie as 
much as $8,500 a year. It takes a lot of 
effort to get past those maximum pay 
levels so that every student is advan¬ 
taged to the maximum degree that we 
can," Forbes said. 

Hector De la Hoz Siegler. president of 
the Chemical and Materials Engineering 
Graduate Students' Association, said 
that some students have approached 
his group with concerns. 

“There have been _ 

sort of mixed reac¬ 
tions: some people 
are OK with the 
new structure, some 
people are a little 
angry about that." De 
la Hoz Siegler said. 

"The group of people 
that have really high 
value scholarships 
are those that really 
get affected by this 

De la Hoz Siegler 
said that his concern 
is for current stu¬ 
dents who already have been receiving 
income over the cap because of previ¬ 
ous payment agreements. 

"If. before coming here, they talk 
to their supervisors, and lets say they 
agree on something, but it was just a 
conversation, and they agree 'I'm going 
lo get tliis payment plus any scholar¬ 
ship I make,’ and they make their deci¬ 
sion to come here based on that — tliis 
could be a cliange to their common- 
law contract," lie said. 

De la Hoz Siegler also expressed con¬ 
cern that this policy could make die 
department less attractive to incoming 
scholarship students. 

"My concern is that that can [deter] 
those students dial get scholarships to 
not come to die department, lie cause 
at other universities, they can gel more 
money. So there is some potential to 
affect the lop students." he said. 

Even after bringing these concerns to 
tlie department, De la Hoz Siegler says 
that for this year, nodiing much can be 
done; but, if there 
are any substantial 
changes to enrol¬ 
ment. he says the 
department did say 
they may review the 
policy next year. 

Dan Manolescu, 
vice president of 
labour relations in 
the U of As Graduate 
Students' Association 
(GSA). stated that the 
Engineering depart¬ 
ment’s policy adheres 
to the association’s 
collective agreement. 

“We haveacollective agreement, and 
as long as their maximum [amount of 
funding] is above our minimum, we 
have no problem," he said. 

Manolescu also said that the GSA 
would move to ensure that no grand¬ 
fathering now occurs. He echoed De 
la Hoz Siegler's concern that if a stu¬ 
dent chooses the 11 of A because of 
a specific rationale, their program 
should remain the same throughout 
their studies. 

“The only feedback 
I've gotten from 
students lias been 
thanking us for 
increasing the 
minimum support 
levels to more 
livable standards. ” 



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