Renting out Camp Concert Hall costs $300 a day and the required custodial services add an extra $125, according to the Modlin Center for the Arts Campus Rental Rate Information guide. The rates pose a significant financial challenge to student groups hoping to use the space for performances.
The Sirens, the oldest and only all-female a cappella group on campus, spent more than $1,000 on their annual Spring Concert in Camp Concert Hall last year, said Rachel Goodgold, president of The Sirens.
“I understand that the space needs to be profitable,” Goodgold said. “But it is a lot of money for a group of our size.”
The Modlin Center charges all academic departments, student groups and other groups that usually come in the summer the same rental rates for the space and equipment available in Modlin’s facilities.
Groups like The Sirens do receive some financial help from the Student Organization Budget and Appropriations Committee, but this money doesn’t cover everything and comes with restrictions on its use.
When groups preform together, like Richmond’s four a cappella groups plan to do this Parents’ Weekend, the costs can be split up. When groups preform alone, however, they need to sell more than 100 tickets to break even.
“It puts the pressure on to get ticket sales,” Goodgold said. “We made a profit from it last spring. We made $600.”
Costs may vary depending on the specific needs of the group renting a space. The Octaves, an all-male group of 13, pay about $450 to the Modlin Center for their annual spring concert.
“Modlin does the lights and provides the space and backstage people,” said Conor Lemmon, the senior president of The Octaves. “But we pay an outside company $1,500 to do the sound.”
Hiring technical personnel from Modlin to work audio and lighting can cost between $20-30 an hour, according to Modlin's rental information guide.
“I used to think it was kind of cheap that we have to pay,” Lemmon said. “Now I understand that we have to pay peoples’ salaries and it’s just part of doing events on campus.”
In recent months, finding dates to schedule performances has become increasingly difficult for all groups looking for space to perform on campus.
Alice Jepson Theatre is closed because of a sprinkler malfunction over the summer that caused significant water damage. Perkins Recital Hall, normally free to reserve for student groups, is also closed because of the renovations in North Court.
“We have put a lot of things in Camp Concert Hall so there isn’t much space for some student groups,” said Shannon Hooker, assistant director of the Modlin Center said. “It has been challenging. We have had to go downtown to Richmond CenterStage to find space.”
Things should get a little easier when Jepson Theatre reopens next semester, but in the meantime Hooker said she and her team would try to accommodate as many student groups and university events as possible.
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