2 Feb 2012

The New Addition

Author: Mykel Lindsay | Filed under: BGSU, Donnell Theatre, Local stories, Spring 2012, Wolfe Center

The Wolfe Center of the Arts is the new addition to BGSU's campus. Photo by Mykel Lindsay.

By Mykel Lindsay

With nearly two years of construction and finding the proper funding to create such a unique building, the Wolfe Center for the Arts is now open for business.

Bowling Green State University is being recognized for its new $42 million facility that is funded by private donations and local and state funds.

The University providing the new space for theater and film major/minors is essential for performances and the many educational purposes needed. In order to meet those demands the Wolfe Center needed to be a functional building; thus the reasoning the University decided to work with the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, the architects from New York City and Oslo, Norway.
With the excitement of Snøhetta’s first completed project in the U.S. being on BGSU’s campus, performances are now underway for BGSU’s students to be casted in the new center.

Upon entry, “the design that was captured with the thought of the sun breaking through,” said Ron Shields, chair of the Theatre and Film department, “is the 30 feet x 80 feet mural “Eternal, created by Anne Katrine Senstad,” which leads to an original designed hallway, the entrance to the Eva Marie Saint Theatre.

BGSU's 40-year-old mosaics are featured in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre entrance. Photo by Mykel Lindsay.

The hallway incorporates the University’s 40-year-old mosaics that were polished, restored and sealed in cases that were created for them to be walked on. “Of course, like everything else being so well thought out, the casings are heated with the proper temperatures in order to keep the mosaics preserved,” said Ryan Miller, Project manager of the Wolfe Center.

This is BGSU's Eva Marie Saint, black box theatre. Photo by Mykel Lindsay.

Proceeding into the Eva Marie Saint Theatre, the first black box theatre at BGSU specifically designed for its purpose, surrounded by brand new equipment, is a lifting platform that allows adjustable seating arrangements to hold up to 120 viewers.

The Eva Marie Saint Theatre is constructed to cast performances such as “Arabian Nights.” “Well, the theatre is large enough to suit its purpose; however, students needed a large enough space to gain the full experience of theatrical life, which is why we have a second performance room, The Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre,” said Miller.

The horseshoe-shaped seating arrangement is constructed to hold nearly 400 people; However, “paying attention to the three layered illusion, one would think there are three levels of seating, thus the third is only for sound and lighting equipment,” said Shields. “The room acts as a “Proscenium Arch”, designed to insulate sound, making it easier for the audience to follow along.”

The bigger theatre of the two, is the Thomas M. and Kathleen M. Donnell theatre.

The development of each theatre has a purpose. “The Thomas B. and Kathleen M Donnell theatre is large enough to play Broadway musicals; however, our main focus was to provide students a theatre where they can gain the full experience without having to practice bad habits, such as speaking too loudly.” Miller said. “And the Eva Marie Saint theatre allows viewers to get a close up view of the play.”

As students and faculty prepare for the performances that are underway to be held in the new theatres, the University continues to display excitement for its new facility. “The Wolfe Center offers a great ‘leg up’ when you’ve worked with the top-of-the-line equipment,” said Jen Sobolewski, communication specialist for the Marketing and Communication Department. “And I would consider our equipment to be the best of the best.”


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