#BringbackBTE: what it is and how you can help


Courtesy of “Bring Back Buffalo Theatre Ensemble to College of DuPage”

Caroline Broderick, Features Editor

On April 7, the College of DuPage Board of Trustees will be vote on bringing back the Buffalo Theatre Ensemble (BTE).


BTE is reaching its 30 year anniversary, but its third year anniversary of being cut from COD. Ed Garzaro, current stage manager for the fall play, Rumors, and one of the students spearheading the the Facebook group “Bring Back Buffalo Theatre Ensemble to College of DuPage” has worked with the community for the past several years trying to bring the ensemble back.


Hearing about a “Buffalo Theatre Ensemble” can be confusing to outside students. BTE was a professional equity theatre. Not only did professional actors perform, but BTE ensemble members, which also included COD theatre professors took the stage. Students could work backstage or alongside these professionals to learn the ins and outs of the industry. “To just cut such a valuable program is a huge disservice to the theatre program and community,” said Garzaro.


Garzaro felt that BTE was important to COD due to the unique opportunities it empowered theatre students to model. “We are one of the few schools to have a professional theatre that allows professors to showcase their teachings beyond the classroom,” said Garzaro. “BTE consistently delivers high quality shows and the professional etiquette they teach students sets us apart from other colleges.”


Bringing back the ensemble has been fueled with much passion from the student body expressed Garzaro. Considering its educational importance, he was surprised when the program was suddenly cancelled in 2013.


The benefit of BTE was proven by its students. Student Ryan Gentile looked to BTE for inspiration and a different way of learning. “BTE was special at COD because you were able to see your professors and others you’ve known applying on stage exactly what they are teaching you,” Gentile said. “BTE showed me that if you have a passion for something in life, you should chase it and not think twice about it.”


In the past, BTE has been discussed by the board. Community members showed their support with posters, videos, student protests, events, and the turnout of community members. There was no doubt that BTE was a cherished part of the school, but this meeting may be the last chance to bring it back. “We’ve been at this for two years,” said Garzaro. “It’s going to come down to the April 7th vote by the board. Even with all of our campaigning efforts, this vote will determine BTE’s future here at the college.”


Garzaro and the community worked in every possible way to show COD how cherished BTE is.  “It was pretty much done, by us starting a petition and getting people involved. We felt that we really made the case for how much the community missed them,” said Garzaro. “I felt so strongly that future students should benefit from these high quality, honest shows. Partnering with fellow students, I knew in my heart that we needed to fight to make our collective voice heard. This ultimately was what started the petition, YouTube interviews and promotional videos, letters to the community, and outpouring by the theatre lovers and residents alike. We basically tried to get as many people involved as possible.”
Like BTE on FaceBook at facebook.com/BringBackBTE to keep up with different ways to support the cause and join the community at the board meeting on April 7 at 7 p.m. in SRC 2000 to bring back the ensemble for the students.