Curtain may close on UWS theater department

By KBJR News 1

May 20, 2014 Updated May 21, 2014 at 12:08 AM CDT

Superior, Wis. (NNCNOW.com) -- Budget cuts are putting some degree programs on the chopping block at the University of Wisconsin Superior, including the theater department.

Funding reductions from the state, a mandated tuition freeze, and decreased enrollment are among the reasons UWS officials say they're prioritizing their programs.

"It's really upsetting for all of us who went through that program to think that it may not exist for kids coming after us," said Victoria Main, a graduate from UWS's theater department, which is one of a few departments on the chopping block.

"Thus far we have made a recommendation to review and potentially suspend our theater offerings," said Director of Public Information Lynne Williams.

The move by school officials has alumni concerned about what the future holds for the program.

"The live theater is an art form that is near and dear to me, there is a human connection and I think it's important to keep that as part of a curriculum at a college," said another theater alumnus, Brian Matuszak.

Officials say they have to either find $2 million in additional revenue growth or cut expenses by $2-million.

Main hopes to work with the University through "Twin Ports Stage," a Superior-based theater company honoring late UW-Superior professor John Munsell.

"We can develop a relationship with the university were kids can go from their program to our program and they can start interning or you know they can be junior company members or something like that," said Main.

UWS officials say this is the first step in program prioritization and are still talking with departments about how to best use their resources.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.