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NDPRESENTS new arts program

Andrew Thagard | Monday, October 6, 2003

When John Haynes announced last week that he wanted the arts to be as pervasive as athletics at a University a steeped in football tradition, located in a state dominated by basketball, many wondered if he was crazy.

The Leighton Director of Performing Arts, however, announced Saturday the creation of “NDPRESENTS,” a new program focused on bringing talented artists from around the world to South Bend.

According to Haynes, a major complaint among new arrivals to South Bend – including students – is a lack of cultural programming. While the Morris Performing Arts Center hosts Broadway musicals and other popular commercial ventures, non-profit performing arts like ballet and orchestra are being neglected.

“There’s this great big gap [in programming], and in that gap you don’t get professional touring companies,” He said. “Half a million people don’t have access to it, unless they travel to Chicago.”

The solution, Haynes said, is NDPRESENTS, a unique link between Notre Dame and the South Bend community where the University will book cultural events both on campus and at the Morris.

“No one else was doing it,” he said. “We should be.”

The program will not cost the University any additional money as funding will come from ticket sales and underwriting grants.

“It directs no resources from any current Notre Dame activities,” Haynes said. “It’s an additional action that I think will be warmly rewarded. I think it offers some wonderful opportunities for students.”

NDPRESENTS kicks off on Oct. 16 at Washington Hall with a performance of “Romeo and Juliet” by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, a group chosen by the National Endowment of the Arts to tour the country as part of a new arts program.

On Oct. 28, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet Co. of Washington D.C. will perform an evening of Balanchine choreography to the music of Tschaikovsky at the Morris. Next year, a Bulgarian opera company and Cirque Eloize of Montreal, Canada will perform.

Haynes said he hopes students and members of the community will attend the cultural events as they attend University athletic events.

“You can play golf all your life; you can play tennis all your life,” He said. “But, you can also go to orchestras and theater all your life.”