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SCVST takes hiatus

After 41 years of producing summer theater productions for audiences in the St. Croix region, the St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre program will take a two-year hiatus while renovations to its prior home, the Kleinpell Fine Arts building at UW-River Falls, are underway.

The KFA building will undergo a major ventilation project renovation during summers 2008 and 2009. Offices and departments within the College of Arts and Sciences have been relocated as well.

"Originally we had planned to produce a season during the summer of 2008, however, it has become clear through a series of discussions with the project manager and others from facilities management that because the building will be vacated for both summers, a 2008 summer season would be counterproductive to our program," wrote staff of the communication studies and theater arts department in a letter sent this spring to SCVST supporters and patrons.

"While it is true that there are ways to have a one-show season, when we investigated the possibilities of other performance spaces around the community we did not feel these options were financially or logistically workable for the program."

SCVST staff said they see the hiatus as an opportunity to regroup and re-energize the program. "During a hiatus we could do what we have never been able to do as well as we might have wanted in the 41 years of SCVST -- really, really have time to think and plan," they wrote in the letter. "It is our goal to return for the summer of 2010 with a vital summer theater program that will be situated to operate well into the future."

Robin Murray, chairperson of the CSTA department, a professor of theater, and a former managing director of SCVST, said: "We envision a well-planned program, one that is sustainable long after the current faculty is gone. We envision a program that is an asset to the university, our theater program, and the St. Croix Valley community, a program that current students, high school students, community members and faculty will want to participate in."

For more information contact Murray at 425-3971.