Mills Players Keep Drama Alive

By
September 16, 2004

Christina Kwong

Looking to fill the void left after cuts to the Drama dept. at
Mills a new club on campus the Mills Players, hope to educate
students about dramatic arts despite the demise of the department
on campus.

In the first major endeavor as a group, the Mills Players will
be putting on Ruthless! , musical comedy, in early
November.  Club president Erika Riakard, a drama minor will be
stage manager the Players will contract Intermedia Arts students
Lauren White to direct and produce the show as part of her senior
thesis.

Ideally, the Mills Players would like to establish an off campus
connection to the extensive theater community of the East
Bay.  They are looking to host a workshop for Mills students
and club members, potentially with “Theater First,” a
company that currently uses Lisser Hall and the Fine Arts Annex on
campus.

They also hope to arrange interested students to perform
improvisation and short skits during the lunch hour on Adam Plaza.
“We’re here to help and act as a resource to students
who want to learn about theater and to teach what they already
know,” said Rickard.

The Players hope to involve as many students as possible
especially the ones who h ad little to no opportunity to enjoy what
the Drama dept. had to offer when it was still in full force.

“President Jan said in a town hall meeting that she would
continue to support drama at Mills in spite of getting rid of all
the classes,” said Rickard, “so we took her up on the
offer.”

After submitting a proposal to President Holmgren, White said,
‘we have enough money for the musical and a few other
projects this semester.”

This is the first year without a Drama dept., although the
program was unofficially cut in early spring of 2003.  The
cuts were soon made official despite student protest to both the
Board of Trustees and faculty members.  The only professor,
Richard Battle, may be leaving Mills at the end of the year when
his contract is up.  The final drama major will graduate in
2006.

Many Mills students are now feeling left behind by the cuts.

“It’s horrible!” said freshwoman Malia
Freedlund. “I didn’t know about it before I got to
Mills because they had the drama major and minor listed in the
catalog they sent to us.”

Other resources were lost with the cuts to the program, as
well.  “A whole room of costumes and supplies was either
donated or junked last year,” according to drama major Winnie
Wallace, leaving students with few resources on campus for costumes
and props.

“We had almost nothing to work with.” The fiscal
support from Holmgren and the Provost will help significantly.

With this fiscal support, “all we can need are interested
people,” said Rickard.  We encourage anyone and everyone
to get involved.”

Mills Players meetings will begin this week.  Anyone
interested is encouraged to contact Rickard at erickard @mills.edu.


Mills Players Keep Drama Alive was published on September 16, 2004 in Arts & Entertainment

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