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University Theatre Services is unique in Canada

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The UTS team has more than 150 years of combined professional experience. Members include - (L-R) Front: Colin Barden, Peter Szakony and Lizzy Evashkevich Back: Ian Kelly, Luke Dahlgren, Graham Frampton, Gillian Webster and Steve Isom Absent: Scott Freeman Photo by Ann Mallory

By Ann Mallory

Did you know that University Theatre Services (UTS) is one of only a handful of theatre support departments currently operating within a Canadian post-secondary institution? This means UTS has the unique dual mandate of being an internally focused academic support group, as well as an externally focused revenue-generating group for the School of Creative and Performing Arts.

“If I may indulge in a couple of old but entirely fitting clichés, UTS is both the glue that holds the SCPA together and the grease that keeps the wheels turning freely. Without their support, very little would happen around here; with it, there’s very little we can’t do. I’m thankful daily for their professionalism, expertise and dedication,” says Bruce Barton, Director of the SCPA.

UTS supports the artistic activities of the SCPA faculty, teaches students through jobs, training and mentorship, and provides professional conference services in our facilities.

The team provides seamless event management and technical production expertise for each of the approximately 500 amateur and professional events held every year in our facilities. UTS staff guide each event from the initial inquiry, through booking, marketing, ticket sales and customer service, to the final invoicing.

“We’re as committed to supporting a first-year student’s performance as we are to setting up a five-person meeting in one of our conference rooms, running a two-week community band festival, or managing a high-profile event to host someone like Pavarotti, the Agha Khan or the President of Mexico,” says Luke Dahlgren, Stage Manager of the Rozsa Centre.

Luke is one of a team of seven UTS career-level lighting, sound, music, set, and technology technicians who together have more than 150 years of professional experience in managing and operating performing arts events for the SCPA’s own academic research and also for the local, national and international community. 

“There’s not much we can’t accommodate here. We’re at the same level, if not better than most road-house crews,” says Luke. The group is also proud to work with off-campus arts groups who look to them for creative problem-solving. Many clients have been with UTS over 20 years and rely on UTS for technical expertise and advice in the pursuit of their own artistic ambitions.

UTS, together with Dance, Drama, and Music, is one of the founding partners that make up the School of Creative and Performing Arts. “We’re passionate about the work we do, we’re proud to support the creative work of our colleagues in Dance, Drama and Music, and we’re honoured to represent the University of Calgary on a daily basis,” says Dahlgren.

Distinguished guests and events hosted by UTS include:

  • 25 ambassadors, diplomats, civic and provincial leaders
  • Lieutenant Governors & Governor Generals
  • U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff & U.S. Secret Service
  • NASA
  • A King
  • 3 TedX events (Ted Talks)
  • High Performance Rodeo (International Arts Festival)
  • Blue Rodeo
  • The Rheostatics
  • Tom Cochrane
  • Hayley Wickenheiser
  • Tanya Tagaq
  • Dennis Chambers
  • Timothy Findlay (known by his friends as “Tiff”)
  • Susan Aglukark
  • Sarah Slean
  • Jay Ingram
  • Luciano Pavarotti