University community celebrates opening of Theatre Arts Center

September 22, 2017

President John L. Lahey welcomes faculty, staff and students to the new Theatre Arts Center.

The university formally opened its new Theatre Arts Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, September 19.

Cheers erupted as Kevin Daly, assistant professor of theater in the College of Arts and Sciences, cut a ceremonial ribbon and addressed the students, faculty and staff who filled the new black box theater.

“We did it,” he proclaimed. “This feels like quite the moment — a really big moment.”

"In theater, we teach that it’s not just the big moments that make life meaningful, but all of the small moments in between that make life truly special," Daly said. The new space, he said, is meant to foster those moments.

The 12,000-square-foot space allows the students flexibility to learn and perform — with a two-story blackbox theater, control room, classroom, faculty offices, work and laundry rooms as well as a box office and a student lounge. It is the first student theater in the state to offer LED lighting — as well as incandescent lighting.

The theater will host mainstage productions, concerts and a variety of other events each year.

“We didn’t just want this to be a theater, but a place the students could come and hang out,” President John L. Lahey said.

The students said they are already enjoying the new learning environment. “When I first saw it, I cried,” said Carleigh Pederson ’18. “But they were happy tears. We’re so excited to have our own space.”

A theater is a place where students of all majors can learn to become better presenters, and develop stronger skills to think and act on their feet, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Smart said.

Ryan Devaney ’18, who is studying lighting, said the new theater enables him to take his passion to new heights.

The theatre is equipped with the latest and greatest equipment, giving the students and staff training and capabilities they’ve never had in the past. One specific piece of gear that they look forward to using is the “God mic,” which allows the user to speak with anybody throughout the building.

Previously, the students learned and performed in the university’s Clarice L. Buckman Theater, a space they shared with other student organizations.

The students will debut their first mainstage production, “Doubt,” at the theater October 12-15. The show, written by John Patrick Stanley and directed by Tom Schwans, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on October 12-13 and at 2 p.m. and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on October 14. Tickets are $10 for students and senior citizens and $15 for general admission.

The Theatre Arts Center is located at 515 Sherman Avenue in Hamden.

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