Backdoor Theatre keeps flooding: Mercer do something!

Anyone who has ever seen a play performance at Mercer knows about the Backdoor Theatre. In the basement of Willingham, a 67 seat black box theatre is the only performance space students in the theatre department have.
It has roaches, mold and it floods so often that Scot Mann makes that a joke in his curtain speeches.
The last flood happened a month ago, but, seeing as I am heavily invested in theatre here (I’m the President of the Mercer Players and have been in twelve shows in the past three and a half years), it took me a while to cool down about having to cancel one of my senior performances because the only space we have was covered in three inches of water.
I always heard about actors having to shove antique furniture and ladders up in the house when it rained, but I honestly thought it was a joke until an inch of water crept in during the second act of “The Seagull.” Because it kept raining that night, we had to cancel the next night’s performance.
The one and only space that actors have to use floods. I realize that I’m being redundant, but I need to emphasize how ridiculous this situation is.
There are theatre majors at this school. There is no reason that we should be performing in a space that is not suited for our needs. Our options for what shows we can do every year are limited by our space, and that’s without the little things like mold and floods happening.
Chemistry majors are not using broken test tubes. English majors are not reading books with pages ripped out.
It is the responsibility of Mercer University to give students the facilities and equipment that we need to succeed.
If you’re in the know, you realize that we are getting a new theatre.
If we get an arts grant from the city of Macon, the construction will go a lot faster. But there are problems with that as well.
The theatre would still be a black box, and hold about as many seats. There is talk that there would be limited, if any, classrooms. And the new space is a block away from campus.
Some shows tend to have minimal audiences anyway, and now you’re going to make students walk a block to get there? We will have no one.
I realize that the best way to solve this problem is to find alum who can donate a lot of money in the name of Mercer Theatre. But the problem is, a lot of people who graduate with a theatre degree go on to perform, which is not always the most lucrative profession (though it is incredibly fulfilling).
And I realize that things like the bear statue, the football stadium and Cruz Plaza are being built because people have donated for them. But Mercer, how about you accept my tuition as a donation for a theatre? I’m sure a lot of other Mercer Players would say the same.
I once read an article about the top five facilities that a university needs to be competitive for perspective students.
Number three was a performing arts facility. Sure, we have Fickling, but that is not conducive for theatre – can you imagine getting typical Mercer Theatre set pieces in throughout the whole music building?
We also have The Grand Opera House, but that houses problems of an entirely different variety. Because Mercer Theatre isn’t treated with the respect that we deserve (in my not so humble opinion), we don’t get a lot of money, which means that we cannot afford to be at the Grand for more than a few days.
My freshman year, we held a meeting between Mercer Players and President Underwood and he said that he would make the Grand more available to us, but so far, that hasn’t happened.
Also, if students aren’t willing to walk the block to the new theatre, you can bet that they aren’t willing to drive the mile to the Grand.
Besides, some shows we would like to do REQUIRE a black box theatre. But not every show does. It’s really tough to find a musical that can be done in the Backdoor Theatre – we got lucky with “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”
What we need are differing spaces. If we had a larger theatre, not Grand scale, but maybe Theatre Macon scale, we could do so much incredible work while smaller productions were going on in the Backdoor.
Student directed shows (think “Ye Gods” and “The Colored Museum”) have done wonderfully recently. Imagine more shows a year, thus more awareness of the theatre department here.
I’m not saying that theatre students should be the number one priority on everyone else’s agenda.
I realize that is impractical and stupid, since most students don’t even come to shows. But if we want to make sure that this school thrives, and I think most of us do, then we need to give some kind of priority to the arts programs.
The best way to get over a bad day is to go into someone else’s world for two hours, so why are you limiting all of the coolest and most accessible worlds?