Theatre construction nears completion, date still unknown

Rachel Christian

More than two years after the university broke ground on the Teaching Theatre, the wait for its doors to open may be coming to an end.

Completion of the theatre has been pushed back twice in recent months. But administration and those involved with the project say the building should be finished soon.

The theatre was originally scheduled to open in August, but when construction wasn’t finished when classes began, the deadline was changed to October or November.

With only a week and a half left in November, the new completion date remains unknown.

Vice President for Finance and Administration Mark Rozewski said it isn’t important to set one.

“There is no such thing as a theatre emergency,” he said. “But we can see the end nearing.”

Rozewski said although the exterior of the building remains incomplete, theatre students will be able to utilize the facility “before the end of the semester.”

The project was at a standstill most of last semester as the university tried to resolve issues with the stone quarry who produced rock for the theatre’s exterior. The manufacturer of the red sandstone had trouble matching the color requirements the university had for the project.

Though the project has faced delays, Rozewski said it has remained on budget.

“The stone for the exterior was already purchased,” he said. “Just because the quarry has been slow delivering it doesn’t raise the cost of the project any,” he said.

Rozewski said the recent unseasonable winter weather doesn’t help the situation.

“We’re hoping we have enough warm days left to finish up the project quickly,” he said.

Performing Arts Department Chair Elliot Wasserman said students and faculty will have keys to the new facility “very soon.”

The building, where stage design and prop creation will take place, is only “days away” from completion.

“We are extremely excited about the new theatre,” Wasserman said. “It couldn’t be a better time for us right now.”

Wasserman found it difficult to pick his favorite part of the Teaching Theatre, but he said the overall atmosphere and intimacy is what he likes best.

“It does a fantastic job of heightening and enhancing the closeness between the performers and the audience,” Wasserman said. “That’s something you always hope to have in a theatre.”

Besides hosting plays and other performances, the theatre will act as an instructional tool to prepare students for work in the entertainment industry. Much like teaching hospitals are designed to prepare medical students for real-life work, the teaching theatre will give students hands-on experience.

“Picnic” by William Inge will be the first show in the new theatre. The production will be a rep show, which means it will feature professional actors.