1 Feb 2012

Wolfe Center consolidates arts, fosters creativity

Author: Alexander Alusheff | Filed under: BGSU, Spring 2012, Wolfe Center

By Alex Alusheff

With a brand new $42 million facility fitted with the latest technology at its disposal, it is no wonder why the Bowling Green State University can’t mask its excitement for the Wolfe Center.

BGSU's new Wolfe Center for the arts, which is price tagged at $42 million. Photo by Alex Alusheff.


“It obviously offers students the best of the best,” said BGSU spokesperson Jen Sobolewski.

Students can now work with up-to-date equipment they would use in their real professions, giving them a leg up on the job market, Sobolewski said.

The Wolfe Center focuses all the arts into one building, which allows for more collaboration between fields, said Ron Shields, chair of the department of theater and film.

“To be an arts student today, you need fluency across the arts,” Shields said.

By having everything centrally located, Shields said he hopes the building will inspire students to learn across the arts.

Some faculty members embrace the consolidation of the arts.

The Wolfe Center assures that people don’t have to run between buildings in preparation for a play anymore, said Margaret McCubbin, associate professor and costume designer.

Before, the basement of Moseley Hall housed the costume department while the theaters sat next door in University Hall.

The relocation allows for more convenience and ease when it comes to collaborative works, McCubbin said.

The Wolfe Center provides multiple amenities to cater to various art disciplines.

The building houses two theaters, a dance studio, computer labs for video editing and digital arts as well as general education classrooms.

The grand staircase of the Wolfe Center can double as a performance space. Photo by Alex Alusheff.

Some students approve of the building’s accommodations.

“There is a lot more space,” said senior Michelle Morris, a theater major.

Having a studio, theater and the Coral Room really caters to doing everything in one place, she said.

“The building breathes and everyone is so excited – you get more creativity when people are excited,” Morris said regarding the open space and design of the building.

The new Eva Marie Saint Theatre, named after the Academy Award winning actress and University graduate of the same name, marks another improvement for the theater department.

The black box style of the theater allows for different experiences for both the performers and the audience, Shields said.

The style allows for a performance to be held in the middle of the room as opposed to a stage, permitting an audience to see the play from surrounding viewpoints, he said.

The black box Eva Marie Saint Theater, which allows for performances to take place on the stage or the center of the room, altering theater experiences. Photo by Alex Alusheff.

Audiences can now flank a performance from two, three or all four sides of the center stage, Shields said.

“Arabian Nights” will be the first performance to christen the new theater, which features the theater-in-the-round style, where audience members view the performance on all four sides of the stage.

By allowing performances to change how the audience will watch a play, the theater can provide different experiences every time, said senior Christina Hoekstra, who is rehearsing for the play.

The other theater located in the Wolfe center is the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre, which seats 400 people and was inspired by Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, Shields said.

The Donnell provides students with the same equipment and space of a Broadway stage, while allowing their voices to be easily projected, unlike at big auditoriums, he said.

Shields said the two theaters were the first to be designed as intended – the old Eva Marie Saint began as a lecture hall while the Joe E. Brown was intended to be a basketball court.

The Wolfe Center stands as a testament to how important the arts are to the University as well as the American culture, Shields said.

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