CUSU introduces Ents revolution

Catherine Watts 31 January 2008

Cambridge University Students’ Union Events (CUSU Ents) are undergoing massive changes in a new wave of event alterations.

Simon Burdus, who took over the position of CUSU Entertainments Manager in December, is overseeing the changes.

“We are launching three new nights as part of a major overhaul of the CUSU Ents.”

He said, “I am committed to diversifying the types of entertainment offered by the students’ union.”

Future events will include a brand new LBGT club night – Fusion – which will be held on Tuesday nights at Club 22.

“The format seems to have been a little stale as of late,” said Burdus. “I am looking to return the LBGT night to the highs of the past.”

A Champagne Launch will be held on the 5th of February to give the night a new beginning.

CUSU will also launch a Thursday night event at Revolution towards the end of the Lent term. Details are still under wraps but CUSU are “confident the night would become a welcome alternative to the usual club night”.

A new partnership will also be formed between CUSU Ents and ‘Shut up and Dance’.

And the changes will see the introduction of a series of evening events called Cam:live, designed to showcase live entertainment in a variety of venues around the city. So far, provisional bookings already include comedians, student bands, beat-boxers and fashion shows.

“I am determined to bring different types of Ents to the forefront of the Cambridge mindset,” said Burdus. “As a students’ union we are able to organise Ents that nobody else can, and we will be looking for student ideas on what Cam:live can offer and where it can go.”

Prices will also undergo an extra re-vamp at a selection of Cambridge clubs. All drinks at Sunday Service will now be £1.50 until 11pm, and £2.50 afterwards.

Burdus told The Cambridge Student (TCS): “Alcoholic drinks are to be matched with non-alcoholic drinks, so that everything will be reduced. This will bring CUSU events in line with or make them cheaper than everywhere else in Cambridge.”

At Kinki at Ballare, drinks, all VKs will be £1.50. And, depending on the night, student offers will be placed on different drinks each week.

“The aim is to make all these nights typical student nights,” said Burdus. “Before now they weren’t typical – they were £4 to get in and drinks were about £3. Now hopefully they’ll be proper student nights where it’s going to be £2 entry and with cheap drinks as well.”

CUSU will also increase the opportunities of getting tickets for events by improving the network of college ticket reps. Burdus described the current system as ‘ad-hoc’ and expressed his wish to see a ticket rep in every college as a point of contact for information and ticket-buying.

A new system of college partnerships will also be trialled, beginning with giving CUSU funding to Girton Amateur Dramatic Society’s (GADS’) production of “Oliver”, since it is to be performed at Corpus Playrooms.

“This is a little guinea-pig,” Burdus said. “We will give them a sum of money as an investment that they can spend as capital. We’ll then advertise for them, give them all the contacts they need, and help with the logistics. We can use our ticket network to sell tickets for them throughout the whole university and basically produce it with them.

“We’re in the position to help as we have the contacts. We’ve got the experience and hopefully that will benefit them. Hopefully it will increase the amount of money they make, which will be good for the college and good for the amateur dramatics society.”

CUSU’s changes have additionally addressed issues with door staff at some clubs. Following complaints about the conduct of some of the bouncers at Club 22, Burdus told TCS that he had spoken to the manager, as a result of which some of the staff will no longer be working on student nights.

“I’ve given a talk to all those bouncers at Ballare and Club 22. I explained that students can sometimes be a bit cheeky, but that they’re not actually going to do anything and showed them that they need to be a bit more lenient. Hopefully it will make other nights a lot safer and more enjoyable.”

Other events changes are still in negotiation. Soul Tree has also been approached to work with CUSU to host live acts.

Burdus was unable to confirm details as yet, but said that he was confident of getting some big names involved – “at least one this year.”

“We’ve approached other colleges as well, like Clare Cellars, and hopefully we’ll get something sorted,” he said.

“These events will essentially be non-profit. But as we’re going to be making a nice sustainable income off the other nights, we feel confident that we will be able to put on something extra for students, something that they will really enjoy.

It will be something that is very different from other universities.”

Katie Spenceley

Catherine Watts