The Erasmus University has always had a noticeable music and performing arts community among its students, as can be seen by the vast number of students who walk through campus with musical instrument cases on their backs or in their hands. Which is why board members of cultural associations, such as the Erasmus Music Association (EMA) and WILDe, an international student theatre club, find it surprising that there are still no designated rehearsal rooms for students on campus. With every weekly rehearsal, the associations and their members are constantly on the search for a space to install themselves, but most of the available options prove to be non-apt.

Unconventional spaces

Unlike other universities in the Netherlands, EUR does not provide any rehearsal rooms designed to be used by several musicians at once. While a small room that houses a singular piano can indeed be found in the Theil Building, EMA chair Frits van Schendel explains why this option lacks versatility and functionality: “You can rent the room with a paid subscription, but if you play too loud you risk getting into trouble with lecturers who are teaching next to the room.”

If you want to rehearse another instrument or rehearse with a band, the room is unsuitable. “Student musicians are known to favour the campus’ sky bridge as a makeshift rehearsal space, or they simply wander the campus looking for other empty areas”, Van Schendel says, “The long-term rent of more appropriate rooms on campus can be up to 300 euros a month, which is not affordable for EMA.”

Theatre club WILDe has run into similar issues throughout its existence, according to chair Amina Knam. “We usually book classrooms in either Langeveld or Polak for our rehearsals, because those are free to rent. But they’re not designed to be theatre rooms.” That means no soundproofing and not enough space to set up set-pieces and props properly, which hinders actors from getting a proper feel for the stage. “Another disadvantage of these rooms is that many are completely surrounded by glass, meaning anyone walking by can just look into them, which is very distracting and can make actors feel uncomfortable.”

Rehearsal rooms as a priority

Both WILDe, which was founded nine years ago, and EMA, founded two years ago, are still in the process of being officially recognised by EUR as student associations. Once they are recognised, they believe installing rehearsal rooms on campus might have a greater chance of success. “It is nevertheless surprising that the university has never even considered a rehearsal room on campus”, Van Schendel says, even before the founding of EMA. “We’re pretty sure that we are not the first people playing music here. We shouldn’t have to ask, especially because the university promotes cultural expression on campus. It should be a no brainer.”

EMA Events Manager Ria Rochelle D’Abreo, highlights the importance of a suitable rehearsal room for musicians on campus: “A lot of students cannot practise at home due to roommates and other housing constraints. A rehearsal room would be available to anyone in the university.” WILDe Chair Knam adds that the idea of creating a shared rehearsal room between EMA and WILDe would ‘definitely be a possibility’.

The university board was asked for comments but was unable to respond before publication.

Theatergroep Wilde Roomservice festival

Read more

Finding rehearsal space for cultural societies not proving easy

Despite efforts by the University Council, SG Erasmus and services management, no…