By: RANDALL MOSSMAN
The copious amounts of rain that fell during July and August had an impact far beyond the construction and repair work you encounter now. It also has impacted numerous events at IU South Bend.
In the immediate aftermath of the damage to the Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance Hall, several officials within the arts department convened in an emergency meeting to discuss what course of action would be taken. The meeting included Dean Marvin Curtis, Stage Manager Alex Blatt, Media and Community Outreach Manager Neil King, and several department chairs. During the two hour meeting, a preliminary schedule was developed to move events previously scheduled for the Performance Hall to other venues.
King estimated that more than 20 events were impacted in total, and he said that five events have been cancelled. The cancelled events are mostly musical productions that heavily relied on the technology and acoustics of the Performance Hall.
“It’s been a juggling process. What can we do?” said King. “We’re adjusting the best we can.”
Many events that were scheduled to take place in the Performance Hall have been moved to the upstage of the auditorium. King said that while nothing has been confirmed, the University is also looking at moving some events off campus. “It’s definitely an option,” he said.
Though the amount of time the Performance Hall will remain closed is unknown, King said the department has planned on it being closed for the entire 2016-17 school year.
While the Performance Hall damage has certainly caused the most headaches for the University, damage to other areas of Northside Hall has also had an impact.
Northside room number 104, a large lecture room above the auditorium, sustained damage and three business classes have been moved to other locations. A theatre acting class has been moved out of the upstage, and four theatre faculty members have been temporarily relocated after their offices sustained water damage.
During the meeting, King said that Dean Marvin Curtis stressed that whatever decisions were made, they had to be the best for students. While the entire ordeal will surely be expensive, King praised his colleagues and the University for their swift response.
“I think we did the best job we possibly could,” King said.
“While it’s a challenge, especially right before the start of the year, the Theatre and Dance Department and the whole School of the Arts has been pulled together in moving offices and re-assigning classrooms,” said Jason Resler, one of the theatre faculty members whose office was relocated.
One of the biggest disappointments is that the Performance Hall has only been open for less than two years after its major renovation. Much of the state-of-the-art technology that was installed during the renovation, the same technology that made the Performance Hall so unique, will now have to be replaced.
However, perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the closure is the lost opportunity for students who were scheduled to perform there.
“It’s a beautiful, warm place,” King said. “It’s really pretty tragic that we’re going to lose that space and that our students will lose the opportunity to perform in that space.”