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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Faculty Q&A;: Bruce Brockman, director of the School of Theater Arts”

Feature photos of fine art students- sculpture and print making
Feature photos of fine art students- sculpture and print making

Bruce Brockman joined the UA faculty two and a half months ago and now serves as director of the School of Theater Arts. Prior to coming to Tucson, Brockman was the chair of the theater department at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee for two and a half years. He has a bachelor of fine arts degree from Kansas State Teacher’s College and a master of fine arts degree from Illinois State.

Why Tucson?

It’s a terrific theater program with outstanding faculty. The UA is highly respected and it’s a great place to live.

What is a normal day like for you at work?

I work with faculty and staff to ensure that we have course schedules planned out and that we’re working to grow enrollment. There’s a lot of budgetary work. I control all the financial budgets in the department so I’m pretty busy. I meet with division heads quite regularly and staff quite regularly and I also do a fair amount of fund-raising.

Why do you like theater?

It’s a collaborative art form. It emphasizes collaboration, group problem solving and it’s a very expressive form, filled with wonderful people.

Are there any productions coming up?

There’s a production called “”Story Theater”” coming up this week. It’s a children’s play and it’s being performed this coming Thursday at 7 p.m. and Friday and 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the Maroney Theater.

What is the play about?

It’s a children’s play based on a number of fairy tales and children’s stories performed by an ensemble of actors all in the theater education program. A student directs it and it originally grew out of a work by Paul Fills, who was a theater director and actor who did a lot of improvisational theater. The piece was originally conceived in (the) ‘60s and is done quite often as children’s theater.

Why is the UA theater department important to the university?

It contributes significantly to the cultural life of campus and offers students at the University of Arizona an opportunity to experience theater, musical theater and literature performed by peers of an extremely high quality. We have one of the largest university theater audiences for any university theater department in the country. We have tremendous audience support. We run approximately 100 performances a year in the main stage and studio theater spaces, which is a substantial number of performances. We are running the equivalent of a professional theater company on campus so we offer a tremendous opportunity for our students. We have a very long legacy of students who have gone out and done extremely well professionally as actors, designers and in film, television and live theater.

How are budget cuts affecting the theater department?

We have had to cut back on the amount of money we’re spending on productions. We’re doing with fewer faculty at the moment and that’s affecting the program. There’s a hiring freeze on at the moment so we’re not able to fill all the teaching positions we need to fill, much like other departments on campus.

It had a pretty serious impact on the department and it’s not just because of the most recent budget cuts. Over the past eight to nine years the department has continually been receiving budget cuts. We have reduced graduate course offerings, have faculty teaching more sections and class sizes are getting bigger. We’re not able to offer as many specialty classes and those things have had a negative impact on the program. I’m a perennial optimist and I think we will find ways to continue growing and improving the quality of what we offer.

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