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Arts Revue, Commerce Revue and Veterinary Science Revue close the curtain for 2023

Ultimately a break does not promise an operational shutdown, the revues are likely to return at some point in the future.

Arts Revue 2022

The 2023 Faculty Revue season at USyd will see the return of only three revues — Science, Law and Medicine — after the Veterinary Science Revue, Arts Revue and Commerce Revue societies confirmed they will not be putting on a show this year.

Every Revue society receives an annual grant of $8,000 from the University of Sydney Union (USU), regardless of the Revue’s size. Thus, it is speculated that Revues are not taking a break due to financial concerns, but rather participation and engagement. 

I spoke to an anonymous Revue Director from 2022, who explained, “The folding of several revues this year is due to the COVID vacuum — the break in shows between 2020-2021 meant that the new generation of Revue actors didn’t have an opportunity to join in and learn, which meant there just wasn’t really anyone to step up this year.”

Commerce Revue has found difficulty in forming both a directorial and production team. “There’s so much work that goes into Revues that is behind the scenes that isn’t really seen”, says Leah Bruce from the 2022 Commerce Revue cast. “It’s hard to get a lot of people to commit to that”. Bruce also spoke to the generational shift, where “a large group of people have graduated” and “revue people are now doing other shows outside of Usyd”. 

Smaller Revues, such as Arts Revue, were not put on annually before Covid. Covid-related stresses then made it increasingly difficult for less-established Revues to return. 

2022 Arts Revue Director Will Torney explained how Arts Revue, a show with a “phenomenal cast and crew”, has had breaks, whereas, “A lot of the other [revues] have been going every year for many years, with no breaks — giving them a more tangible product and a cast that is similar each show.” 

As students graduate between these breaks, it is harder to pass on the executive roles and guarantee a show. Torney opined why there may not be sufficient interest to corral a yearly Arts Revue cast: “in the arts, there are lots of options for performing so people are able to do some more things especially if they are already in the arts”. 

Many members of the 2022 Arts Revue cast were also cast members of 2022 SUDS shows and identity Revues, with notable crossover between the cast of the SUDS Major Everynight and Arts Revue; this reveals that the Arts Revue community was mostly veteran performers with other performance avenues to pursue.

Ultimately, a break does not promise an operational shutdown. Both Bruce and Torney commented that a lot of smaller Revues take breaks and return, and therefore predict a likely comeback for the Revues.

 “I don’t think this is the end”, Bruce affirms.

In a statement, USU President Cole Scott-Curwood said the “USU is committed to supporting student art, creativity, and performance.

“We’re excited by the stellar season of Identity Revues currently running and are looking forward to this year’s Faculty Revues… USU has been in contact with Engineering Revue, but their affiliation didn’t occur before their show which was held recently. Excitingly, it looks like Education Revue will be putting on a show this year. USU will continue engaging with students who participate in revues to understand what kind of support is wanted.”

“While the development of each revue is a unique process, it’s known that the continued cost-of-living crisis decreases students’ ability to participate in activities outside of work and study. In light of this, USU is working hard to support students.” 

Scott-Curwood listed the ways the USU assists revues, including sessions with external professionals, and collaborating with the Seymour Centre regarding bookings and payments.

“[The] USU has created an additional role which supports Identity Revues with extra help booking venues, extra help navigating the re-registration process, advice on how to apply for different grants, and help to book extra activities for fundraising,” Scott-Curwood said.

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