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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Cuts to theatre department lead to partial closure of Groundlings Café

Along with the café’s closure, around a dozen courses in the theater department were canceled due to low enrollment after the University increased the minimum number of students required for a course to be offered.  
Student+purchases+snacks+from+the+Groundlings+Caf%C3%A9+before+its+recent+closure.
Ursula Saadeh
Student purchases snacks from the Groundlings Café before its recent closure.

The Theatre and Dance Department now faces cuts due to Baldwin Wallace University’s budget deficit that led to the partial closure of the Groundlings Café, a small coffee shop in Kleist Center for Art & Drama. 

Along with other budget cuts impacting students, Groundlings Café will only be open during the evenings of performances.  

Jeff Herrmann, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, said the atmosphere provided by Groundlings Café will be missed.  

“I think students need a place to gather and hang out and socialize and work on their homework and rehearse and stuff like that,” Herrmann said. “Groundlings made this a warmer environment for them to do that in, and now we’ve lost that.”  

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Ava Mastrone, a senior acting and directing student who worked on bringing back Groundlings Café after the pandemic, said that she was saddened by the closure.  

“That was just disappointing that the deficit affected the tiny little coffee shop that wasn’t really hurting anybody,” Mastrone said. “It provided a place for people in the theatre department to gather, and they knew that if they needed a little refreshment, they could go there.” 

After this semester, Groundlings Café will only be open for the shows, running solely on volunteer status, Herrmann said.  

Along with the café’s closure, around a dozen courses in the theater department were canceled due to low enrollment after the University increased the minimum number of students required for a course to be offered.  

“A course can only be offered if at least 10 students register for it,” Herrmann said. Herrmann said these cancellations will not prevent any theatre students from graduating. 

“We had to do quite a bit of juggling. But we’re still able to… work [it out] so that it doesn’t affect any student graduating,” Herrmann said.  

Nonetheless, Mastrone said that she knows of students whose path to graduation is affected by the class cancellations.  

“There was a class I was going to take, stage combat one, but it got cut because of the budget,” Greta Bedell, a BFA acting student said. “Now, I have to take both [classes] senior year, which is fine, but it just threw me off my schedule.”  

In response, some theater department faculty members have tried their best to accommodate students’ needs, Herrmann said, such as doing an independent study for the Vectorworks class — a software programming course many theatre students need to graduate. Herrmann said that he had five students who needed to take the class on Vectorworks to graduate, and while he could have waived it, he felt it would not be helpful for their education to do so. 

 “I wanted them to learn the program,” Herrmann said. Herrmann said adjusting to a tightened budget would be a learning experience. 

 “I’ve worked in several companies, and I always have a budget to think about, and sometimes I’m asked to cut things,” Herrmann said. “So that’s a good lesson to learn early on. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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