SOU theater program worried it may face budget cuts in realignment plan

ASHLAND, Ore. – Theater has deep roots  in Ashland.

Many visit to catch the world renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

And for those wanting to work in the industry, SOU‘s theater program is a popular place.

“This treater program here brings in so many people to the area and the university. And we provide that arts culture that is so valuable here in Ashland,” senior Maggie Braa said.

“We have plenty of students going off to work OSF, the Cabaret, the Camelot,” senior Oliver Quant said.

Quant and Braa are two of the roughly 150 students in the program.

They say cuts from SOU‘s Realignment Plan could impact the theater department.

“We’ve learned from specific professors that have been meeting and things scheduled for the future that their contracts will likely be ending some time in the future, a lot of it is up in the air right now,” Quant said.

The university has been looking at making budget cuts and other moves to erase a projected $14 million. 

Multiple professors tell NBC5 off camera that they did met with the school on Tuesday about the potential of their contracts not being renewed.

However, nothing is final.

In response, over 100 students in the program have come together the last few days, to establish the ‘SOU Theater Coalition’.

“We want to bring the school together,” Quant said. :Because we’re hearing from multiple different departments of the same thing. So bring everyone together to show the administration, show the school, that we all stand behind our facility and professors.”

Braa, who is the president of the treater technical club, said cuts could even affect clubs connected with the program.

“We’re to get pretty significant funding cuts from that, which will obviously affect our students pretty severely,” she said.

The coalition believes professors on the technical side, could be most impacted.

Without them, they’re not sure how theater at SOU will survive.

“It will be detrimental,” Quant said. “I personally don’t believe theater will continue. some of these professors are the keystones of what happens here. Without lights, without scenic, without sound, we won’t be able to put shows on.”

We reached out to administration officials about potential cuts to the program, they declined to comment.

On Thursday morning, during the school’s next town hall, SOU president Dr. Rick Bailey is expected to reveal the realignment plan.

© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
Skip to content