The UCSD theatre and dance department plans to lay off production employees that it shares with the La Jolla Playhouse as part of its “dedicated staffing plan,” the department and local theatre announced in a Nov. 9 statement. In Jan. 2017, when the change takes effect, those who are let go will have the opportunity to apply to work entirely for either the university or the Playhouse in one of the 21 available positions.
UCSD and the Playhouse have shared production employees since 2001, and the workers are technically employed by the school but partially paid by LJP. However, officials at the two organizations decided that “growth outpaced staffing capacity.”
According to the department’s statement, the decision to reorganize was made by the university and the Playhouse, but they did inform the workers’ union, the University Professional and Technical Employees Union, of the upcoming change.
Both the Theatre Department and LJP believe this reshuffling of employees will ultimately be beneficial to both them and the workers, even if it may be initially challenging to adjust.
“The new relationship was developed to assist both organizations in meeting the distinctive yet interconnected educational and artistic missions, and with a shared goal of creating and improved work/life balance for production staff,” the statement read. “While we know any change can be difficult, we believed that [the] proposed modification will ultimately benefit our students and staff, and allow the university to build on the world-class programs it offers.”
The organizations also noted that they are still dedicated to ensuring UCSD students finish their residencies, as well as continuing most production work being done at the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theatre District’s theatres.