SCDS to Receive Academic Credit for Fall Production
For the first time in Yeshiva University history, members of the Stern College Dramatics Society (SCDS) will be receiving academic credit for working on their fall production, Associate Dean of Stern College for Women Ethel Orlian recently confirmed in an email.
Actresses and crew members in SCDS’ fall production who complete the required hours and academic supplements will have the option to enroll in a 2-credit course entitled “Play Production.” SCDS will be performing Ken Ludwig’s comedy, “The Game’s Afoot (or Holmes for the Holidays)” on December 16, 17, 19 and 20.
“The course will offer students a formal structure within which to study topics such as the function of theater technicians, costume design, role interpretation and acting and all areas relating to play production,” said Orlian. “The course requires practical experience which will be met by participation in the Dramatics Society Production.”
This win for SCDS follows a years-long battle with the YU Administration, in which SCDS repeatedly petitioned for the chance to earn academic credit for those heavily involved in their annual production. Members of the Yeshiva College Dramatics Society (YCDS) were granted the option for credit in 1973 after a member of the society made a formal request to Dean Isaac Bacon. Since then, both societies evolved on parallel paths until the start of the 2017 school year, when YCDS joined SCDS in being placed under the auspices of student life (YCDS was formerly run under the jurisdiction of the Dean’s Office). However, YCDS members still received credit for their work on the fall production last year while SCDS members did not, despite the practically identical nature of the societies.
An editorial published in The Commentator last fall called out the university for its latest rebuttal to SCDS and highlighted the issues with refusing them credit, including the effect such a disparity has on the reputation of the societies and the university. The editorial was allegedly read by various higher-ups in the YU administration, including the Provost.
Shortly after, members of SCDS reached out to Dean Orlian with a renewed request for credit. After multiple meetings and a vote from the academic committee, the new course was approved and created.
“This is a win many years in the making,” remarked Shoshy Ciment, the current president of SCDS and the author of the aforementioned editorial. “I am beyond ecstatic to be leading SCDS during such an exciting time.”
For many current and past members of SCDS, the past few years have been particularly exhilarating. SCDS gained access to the Schottenstein Theater uptown in 2017 after years of performing in various makeshift venues since the selling of the Beren Campus theater in 2012. After receiving access to the uptown theater, gaining credit for its members was the natural next step for the board of SCDS.
“As soon as I was able to comprehend that this dream had finally become a reality, tears just immediately began streaming down my cheeks,” remarked Jordyn Kaufman, a former SCDS president who was instrumental in obtaining the Schottenstein Theater for the women in 2017. “This has been such a long time coming and for me it was something that I really wanted that I wasn’t able to achieve in my time.”
“I hope students can feel empowered by our story,” said Liorah Rubinstein, another former SCDS president. “It's one thing to want to see changes and continue the lamentations of years; it's another to take the responsibility of making it happen.”
Photo Caption: SCDS rehearsing “Our Town” in the Schottenstein Theater in 2017.
Photo Credit: SCDS Facebook Page