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Fashion school off the hook for rental fee

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By Jordan Heath-Rawlings

When plans for this year’s Mass Exodus fashion show begin in earnest this month, there won’t be the question of a $2,500 theatre rental fee hanging over the organizers’ heads.

The dean of communication and design told the school of fashion last Wednesday that, even if Ryerson’s ancillary services charges for use of the Ryerson Theatre, the school of fashion won’t have to pay the fee to host Mass Exodus 2002.

It isn’t yet clear if ancillary services will receive a fee for hosting the show in the Ryerson Theatre, or who will have to pay it. Enrol Aspevig, Ryerson’s v.p. academic, is making that decision, and he was unavailable for comment. Linda Grayson, v.p. of student affairs, refused to speculate.

Last year ancillary services tried to charge the school of fashion a flat fee of $2,500 to use the theatre for three days — a discount from what is charged to non-Ryerson productions. But organizers of Mass Exodus protested, saying they had used the theatre the last 10 years free of charge.

Usually, renting the Ryerson Theatre for a non-Ryerson event costs $2,500 per day. Last year’s controversy was resolved when, after a month of bickering between the school of fashion and ancillary services, the fee was paid by the faculty of communication and design.

“I don’t care (who ends up paying),” said Peter Duck, faculty advisor for Mass Exodus. “All I know is that it isn’t us.”

Fashion chair Mary McCrae called the announcement great news for her department.

“All the money we make [from Mass Exodus] goes right back into improvements to the school of fashion,” she said.

McCrae said she believes fashion was exempt from the fee because the show is a part of the curriculum.

“(Mass Exodus) is an academic project. It takes place during the academic term and Ryerson theatre students are an integral part of the show’s production,” she said. “We shouldn’t be charged for using [Ryerson’s Theatre] to host a Ryerson event.”

This year’s show is titled Gallery, and preparations have just begun. The show will run on April 9 and 10. Director Adrienne Finlay said that, as the title suggests, the theme of the show concentrates on the art of design.

“We want the focus more on the artistry of the designs, and less on the elements of popular fashion,” Finlay said. “But, I mean, it’s still Mass Exodus. It’s still a huge fashion show.”

Finlay, a third year-year fashion communications student, said that the committees that organize the show have just been formed and the posters advertising the show should appear after Christmas. She said she was ecstatic when she learned that the school of fashion wouldn’t have to pay to use the theatre.

“It was never in our budget,” she said. “So I’m just glad we don’t have to worry about paying [the fee].”

In the early stages of planning, money is an issue. Knowing about the status of the theatre fee in advance helps enormously in preparing a budget said Duck.

“We’re seeking sponsorships right now,” he said. “[The announcement] means we can spend less time soliciting funds and more time on the artwork and the show itself.”

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