How long have the outdoor movies, concerts, and other events been running and how did it get started?
Outdoor films, concerts, events, and theater have been a part of UW-Eau Claire's summer session events for over 40 years. Over the past 15 years, summer events have evolved into several series - Monday night music on the Central Campus Mall, Jazz at Noon concerts, and open air cinema screenings. The whole idea has always been to bring our community neighbors onto the campus to enjoy the laid-back pace of summer.
What's the most difficult aspect of formulating the summer schedule?
The most difficult part ... is balancing the familiar with the new. We try to introduce a new programming concept each summer, but sometimes the results are mixed in terms of audience response. All in all, though, our emphasis is on featuring artists with a connection to the Chippewa Valley and/or UW-Eau Claire and the reception is always warm. The concerts are always popular, and everyone loves watching movies under the stars.
Any specific highlights or unique offerings on this year's schedule?
There are several new offerings this year - we have added a small farmers market on the Central Campus Mall every Thursday morning, (and) we are introducing spoken word and theater through our Shakespeare and Others in the Park series on Wednesday evenings in July. (Shakespeare and Others) will feature short plays presented by the BareBones Ensemble Theatre, poetry readings, and perhaps even a little comedy and juggling. The Department of Music and Theatre Arts has scheduled a Sunday afternoon series of classical concerts. We have lots of things to do and every one of them is free and open to everyone.
How many attendees do you expect at the events? How many can you accommodate?
Since most of our programs are outdoors, we can accommodate all who wish to come. Many bring picnics, blankets, lawn chairs, children, dogs, bicycles, the whole family. We feature free popcorn at evening events like the outdoor movies, and even if the weather forces us indoors, no one is turned away. We have had more than 500 people for some of our Music on the Mall concerts.
How has response been and what awaits in the future?
Reaching out to the community and supporting the arts are part of the mission of the university. Summer Events support those efforts. Many of our performers are students, alumni, faculty and area residents. Everyone seems to like getting outside during the warm summer months, and the outdoor cinema, concerts, and other events gives people a chance to interact with their neighbors. The community has enthusiastically turned out for our shows and events for many years and we hope this continues into the foreseeable future. Even the plans for the new Davies Center/student union take our summer events into account.
Source: "Gimme Five: 'Backyard' shows thrive at UW-EC" by Liam Marlaire -Leader-Telegram. Read full article at: http://www.leadertelegram.com/story-news_local.asp?id=BKA8Q64BKFQ