Excerpted from Lighting & Sound America Online, November 13, 2007:
The subject of theatre arts is central to Carthage’s liberal arts curriculum. In recent years, growth in theatre, theatre production, musical theatre, and technical theatre classes has increased the need for updated and expanded theatreand theatre-support spaces at the college.
The 62,000-sq.-ft. complex will include two performance spaces. An intimate 400-seat proscenium theatre will include a full fly loft, orchestra pit, and trap space. This theatre will support all the theatre department’s drama, theatre dance, and musical productions. The expanded capabilities also will improve the quality of visiting productions. These will include professional touring groups, guest speakers and simulcasts events.
Complementing the main theatre, a 150-seat black-box space will provide students with flexible space for experimental work. Technical theatre training will be accomplished in separate shops for set design and production, custom design and construction, make-up art, and lighting design.
All of these spaces are open to the main circulation “spine,” giving the casual passersby a view into the artistry of theatre production. A third-level rehearsal hall is sized for blocking out a main stage production. With a view of Lake Michigan, the rehearsal hall will double as a campus-wide special events space. Front-of-house spaces will provide the audience, students and visitors a welcome lobby, reception area, box office, and concession area.
Located on a pivotal site, the Performing Arts Center will become a gateway at the main campus entry. The selected site is covered with mature oak trees and slopes down toward the Pike River nature preserve. Reinforcing both Carthage College and HGA’s commitment to the environment, no trees will be removed. The building is being designed as a truly green theatre, with sustainable materials, high-efficiency mechanicalsystems, and alternative energy sources.
The project is scheduled to open for the 2011 academic year.