Auburn University Theatre raises curtain on black box and dance studio

Published: August 27, 2014
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A black box experimental theatre and a 1,500-sq.-ft. dance studio are part of a newly constructed addition designed to enhance the experience of audiences and performers at Auburn University's Telfair B. Peet Theatre.

The $3.9 million project is a two-story, 10,471-sq.-ft. addition to the existing theatre, featuring a production space that will accommodate up to 150 patrons and a dance studio that can double as an event space. The addition will expand production possibilities for Auburn's theatre, music and dance programs and provide the latest technology, training and education for students.

A black box theatre is just that – a square performance space with black walls and a flat floor, which allows for flexibility in the ways the area is used for different kinds of performances.

"Such a space allows our faculty and students' imaginations to run wild and makes it possible to provide theatre that satisfies our increasingly discerning audiences," said Robin Jaffe, production manager and faculty technical director in the Department of Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts. "It will also provide the skills and experience our students need to be competitive in their future careers."

The addition boasts a completely digital lighting control system, engineered sprung flooring in both the theatre and studio and a wire tension grid which allows safe access to lighting, cables, speakers and effects. The grid is the first of its kind at a university in the state of Alabama and will safely hold up to 90,000 lbs.

The new space also includes additional lobby and office space and a drop-off drive for patrons of music and theatre events, as well as dressing rooms for productions in the black box theatre.

"The difference in what we've had to work with and what we have with the new facility is immense, not just in square footage, but also in the possibilities of productions that can be done in such an amazing and flexible space," Jaffe said. "The theatre addition will add to the experience of our patrons, students, faculty, staff and guest artists and allow for truly innovative production design."

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