1 Feb 2012

State of the Art Theaters Stands Out in Wolfe Center

Author: Justina Bucceri | Filed under: Wolfe Center

Photo taken by Justina Bucceri in the Donnell Theater

It’s no secret BGSU’s latest building addition, the Wolfe Center for the Arts, has drawn attention all around campus. The $42 million building opened Dec. 9, 2011, and held its first day of classes Jan. 9, 2012. However, one first is unique to BGSU, designing and building theatre spaces from scratch.

According to Ryan Miller, the lead contractor from the BGSU Office of Design and Construction, the Wolfe Center is the first building in the university’s history that initially designed spaces in the building to be used as theaters.

For instance, other theatre rooms on campus such as the Joe E. Brown theatre were not originally designed to be theatres. The Eva Marie Saint Theater and the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theater are the brand new theatre spaces in the Wolfe Center that will be first used this semester.

“From day one, this is the largest project for the university,” Miller said.

“Arabian Nights” by Mary Zimmerman will be one of the first plays to be performed in the Eva Marie Saint Theater in the building.

The Eva Marie Saint Theater is a black box theatre space where there is moveable and flexible seating and staging for the audience and actors. BGSU has never had a theatre space that is easily convertible in all aspects of lighting, audience and staging.

Andrea Miller, a senior theatre minor, said she likes the Donnell Theater even better than the Eva Marie Saint Theater.

The theater is impressive with its high ceilings and catwalks that are easily accessible for behind-the-scenes action, she said.

“People can pull out the seats in the Donnell Theater. It provides new staging ideas that can customize the show and allow more options,” Miller said.

Ron Shields, the chair of the theater and film department said they didn’t want to bring any old pieces of sound or lighting into the theatres.

“The Donnell Theater is the most expensive real estate in the Wolfe Center,” Shields said.

On Dec. 9, 2011 theWolfeCenteropened its doors to a crowd of 1,500 while others waited to get in.

“This was the first time some of the donors saw it, especially their children, close friends and families,” Jen Sobolewski, a BGSU spokesperson from the marketing and communications department, said.

She said the Donnell Theatre wowed all of the first time visitors because of the size and behind-the- scene technology.

‘The best of the best is inside this building,” Sobolewski said, “Students will work with no better equipment in their future that they didn’t work with in here.”

 “The real power for students is to experiment with audiences; it changes the theatrical event and changes the relationship between audiences and actors,” Shields said.



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