Theatre company cuts back to explore its future

The UDM Theatre Company has decided to shorten its season in order to reevaluate the theatre program.

A usual season for the company includes four or more shows, but this year only three will be produced, said Melinda Pacha, chair of the performing arts department.

“We are looking at a few things, including studying the program and changing the curriculum and we need time to do that,” said Pacha.

During this year, the theatre program will not only assess the program itself, but also show choices, venues and their presence in the community at large.

Prof. Greg Grobis, director of marketing and management, said that he is hoping that UDM’s mission can be more fully applied to the new curriculum.

“This is a time to reassess our curriculum, integrate UDM’s mission of social-justice values and keep up the pace with a rapidly changing world,” said Grobis. “We will research other theatre programs across the country and form a group of allies to assist with future goals.”

One of these goals is to find a proper venue for the company’s productions.

This year, the department has had to step back from a rental contract with Marygrove College, where many of UDM’s productions have been staged.

“I have always thought it was strange that our program has to be very creative in searching for space to create theatre,” said Grobis. “The stage is our laboratory. It is frustrating that we have to search out our lab space year after year. I wonder how other programs on campus would operate if they had to find a new lab space each year.”

Two of this year’s three shows will be shown at Grounds Coffeehaus on UDM’s campus.

The first show of the season, “The Best of Enemies,” will be shown in Marygrove’s Theatre.

Though the decision to scale back this season is momentous for the UDM Theatre Company, Grobis said that the university community has been supportive.

“Our students, alumni and community supporters are very excited that we are taking a step back in order to reinvigorate and rediscover what made us the Theatre Company to begin with,” said Grobis. “I’m hopeful that by working together we will be able to sustain and create a larger impact in our community.”

“The Best of Enemies” opens the UDM Theatre’s Company’s 2014-15 season this Friday at 8 p.m.

The play will be staged at Marygrove Theatre on McNichols Road. It will also be performed Sept. 27-28 and Oct. 3-5.

Prof. Melinda Pacha said the play embodies UDM’s social-justice focus.

It “has a great story,” said Pacha. “The issues it brings up are still relevant today, including race, class-consciousness, gaps in society and the haves and have-nots.”

Tickets can be purchased at or through the box office, 313-993-3270.