University Of Montevallo Opens New Center For The Arts-Home To Theatre Department

Emilee Geist

The new Center for the Arts will be home the Theatre Department, which currently has over 115 majors. The University of Montevallo’s new Center for the Arts is completed, and began hosting classes with the start of the fall semester on August 24. The new Center for the Arts will […]

The new Center for the Arts will be home the Theatre Department, which currently has over 115 majors.

University Of Montevallo Opens New Center For The Arts-Home To Theatre Department

The University of Montevallo’s new Center for the Arts is completed, and began hosting classes with the start of the fall semester on August 24. The new Center for the Arts will be home the Theatre Department, which currently has over 115 majors.

The opening of the new performing arts center during the outbreak of COVID-19 has provided the University of Montevallo and the Theatre Department with many challenges. Adaptations we have made due to Covid-19 include:

-Increased hand sanitizer stations in the building.

-Classrooms and work spaces are cleaned and sanitized in between classes.

-Masks are made available to all students.

-Directional Arrows and Social Distancing Floor Stickers-Students have been great at following the one-way directional path way arrows. Andrew Fancher, the Center for the Arts’ building administrator, was instrumental in measuring out safe paths through the building and helping students become oriented.

-Lobby Furniture-Originally, the lobby furniture was designed to create small, intimate nooks for conversation and socializing. The new arrangement of the lobby furniture has created a more open and safe lobby for students.

– Because of the size and openness of or our new facility, we have been able to accommodate CDC distancing guidelines without having to reduce the number of students in the classroom. For example, the Sloan Costume Studio offers an open, flexible-layout, collaborative, learning space with tables that can be moved to suit any class need.

-Our faculty has worked to design their courses to incorporate online learning options, as well as hybrid in-person/online options where possible. Our performance-based classes are responsibly distanced and all students and instructors are masked at all times.

Immediate plans for productions and performances this Fall semester are on hold- no large events will be held in the Center for the Arts or on the UM campus until the threat posed by COVID-19 has subsided. However, the Theatre Department plans to host virtual guest artist workshops with professional set and costume designers, actors, and casting directors for students. There are also plans to host outdoor, staged readings of plays in the Fall. In the Spring the department plans to present two productions: one play and one musical. Both productions will be staged using social distancing and will require mask wearing for both actors, production crews, and the audience.

The 36,750-square-foot building is located at the intersection of Oak Street and North Boundary Street, and is unique among collegiate facilities in the state of Alabama. It features two performance venues, an art gallery, a digital fabrication lab, design labs with animation software, multiple classrooms, Theatre faculty offices, vocal performance rehearsal rooms, a dance studio, state-of-the-art production shops, a sculpture garden, an outdoor commons area and adjacent ground-level parking.

The facility’s impact will stretch far beyond the College of Fine Arts, as it was designed to provide services to the University and community as a whole and will have a positive economic and cultural impact on the entire community. Working in this innovative facility will provide students the opportunity to work with equipment and technology used by professional theatre companies and other arts organizations, preparing them for both summer and full-time employment in the field which will make them competitive in a higher paying job market. The large mainstage theatre space in particular will require more production crew members, and will include training students to use the fly-rail, 2 ETC ION lighting console, a brand new LED curtain, 4K movie projector and projection screen, digital mapping with projectors, and state-of-the-art Midas sound consoles for both performance spaces.

Our new scene shop is now equipped with state-of-the-art metal working tools including a CNC milling machine, a metal lathe, a tubing roller, 3 new welders, and an Iron worker. These tools give the faculty the ability to teach students how to make large and dramatic set pieces that are usually reserved for professional companies. The new (insert donors name here) Digital Fabrication Lab comes with 3 different types of 3D printers, a new large format laser cutter, a Vacuuform machine, a high-speed die cutting machine, 3 large format printers, and 3d modeling/scanning stations.

Our new costume shop has been equipped with industry-grade special equipment, including dye-vats and ____ which will give students the necessary training needed to pursue careers in Theatre and help to make them competitive in the higher paying job markets. The shop has large windows that let in natural light, which is so important to gauge colors and textures, plus they allow the community to see what we’re making.

The Center for the Arts has also helped the University of Montevallo achieve Associate Membership in the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST). The Center for the Arts was created with the goal of increasing student enrollment in the Theatre Department.

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