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Why We Have Yet to Pop Our CFA Bubble

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to any other CFA student reading this post that we as artists and members of the BU community are extremely insular.

Throughout my four years here, this conversation has been brought up in a multitude of ways, by many if not most of us.

Who comes to see our shows?  We do.

How many times have we tried to explain to non-CFA students (sometimes earnestly and sometimes sarcastically) what we do in class?  Too many to count.

How many times have we set foot in Questrom?  Zero. 

Yet how often do we complain about Questrom having it’s own Starbucks? At least twice a week.

Alright. Maybe I should be speaking in the first person for some of these complaints, but I believe they are rooted in something we have all found ourselves collectively concerned about.

In my opinion, there is nothing worse than attending a show in the CFA or at the Huntington or the Calderwood, and seeing only other School of Theatre students there. Now don’t get me wrong, I love us. We are a strong collective that devotes much of our time to supporting each others work. But what hope do we have for influencing and engaging with peers outside of our direct spheres of influence if most of the BU population has never even been inside the CFA?

And you may say, “well didn’t you just admit that you’ve never been inside Questrom?” Yes, yes I did, you are absolutely correct. I have never been inside Questrom even though every ounce of me wants to go up to that Starbucks counter and order a Venti Iced Cold Brew with my Convenience Points through a smile of spite. But I never will, because I am a coward.

I’ll admit it. Questrom intimidates me. The thought of entering its unknown terrain without a purpose or an ally by my side is terrifying. Not because I don’t know plenty of nice people who are business majors, but because it seems too outside my experience.

I say all this because I believe the opposite is true as well. In fact I know it is. I have had conversations with many other BU students who have admitted to me they are equally as afraid to walk into the CFA. They hear the rumors of us running around barefoot and wild in masks and they pass by 855 Comm without even glancing into the doorway.

So what do we do? I know in our Understanding the Camera class with Georgia Lyman there has been talk of partnering up with a senior COM class to collaborate on joint projects. On one of the first days of class Georgia had asked us what our connection was to our fellow COM classmates who identify as cinematographers, screen writers and directors; we looked around at each other bewildered. How had no one thought of this before? Georgia is now in discussion with professors over at COM to create a new class within the next few years that will bridge the gap between COM and the SOT.

But these partnerships could and should extend beyond COM. This whole post was inspired by an article I found on HowlRound that highlights the unique relationship between UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The product is the Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance, better known as REMAP, and their mission statement is “to explore new enriching cultural forms and empowering social situations enabled by the thoughtful interweaving of engineering, the arts and community development.”

Through REMAP, theatre students at UCLA have joined together with engineers, coders, and software designers to create immersive, participatory forms of storytelling by utilizing technologies such as Google Glass.

By taking a page out of UCLA’s book, BU can begin to adopt a greater cross-disciplinary view of itself in order to create a community that is more immersive, welcoming and forward thinking than the one it is now.


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