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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA improv comedy club relocates amidst financial struggles

Samuel Ellis
The Charles Darwin Experience performing at The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre.

In the midst of a university-wide financial crisis, University of Arizona improv club The Charles Darwin Experience was forced to adjust to a lack of funding and relocate its weekly shows. 

In the past, CDE performed weekly free-to-watch shows at The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre; however, like many other clubs this semester, it was unable to get funding from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona this year and could not renew its contract with the Scoundrel & Scamp for a full semester.

“We had some money left over from last semester from a fundraiser we did, so we used the rest of that money to rent as many shows as we could through the Scoundrel & Scamp, and that was only about half a semester,” Babacar Ba, the president of the Charles Darwin Experience, said.

The group’s last show in the Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre was Tuesday, March 19. Since then, its temporarily relocated to the Harold Dixon Studio Theatre on campus at 1025 N. Olive Road.

“We’re working administratively with the Scoundrel & Scamp to get our Tuesday dates back. We had a show this past Tuesday in the Harold Dixon and it was fine, but it’s not a long term solution,” said treasurer of the Charles Darwin Experience Emma Dean.

Since learning that it would not be receiving money from ASUA, the club has been passing out its donation jug every week and putting on themed fundraiser shows that people can watch for a small fee, according to Ba.

“Last semester we did [a fundraiser show] that started out as a beauty pageant but in the first minute there was a murder and the whole thing [became] a murder mystery,” Clayton Lukens, a member of the Charles Darwin Experience, said.

The Charles Darwin Experience recently hosted its second fundraiser show on Thursday, April 4, which was based on the television show “Survivor.

“It’s going to be fantasy versus fiction and we’re going to try to expedite through a whole season of Survivor’ in an hour. There’s a structure to it but all the characters, the stuff that happens in the scenes are completely made up,” Ba said.

“When I first joined we didn’t do any crowdfunding at all. It was just free,” Dean said. “It’s disheartening to see because our shows are supposed to be free and they’re supposed to be accessible to everyone who’s in any financial situation. Now it’s almost like if you show up I feel like our audience members are almost pressured to donate, and I don’t want that to happen going forward. Our shows should just be free.”

Currently, the Charles Darwin Experience is performing in the Harold Dixon Studio Theatre on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. The group’s Instagram @cdeimprov provides updates on any location changes.

“Support live theater!” Lukens said.

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