Belmont University is currently constructing a 350-seat proscenium theatre, black box theatre and scene shop in the former sanctuary of Belmont Heights Baptist Church to provide new venues for the Department of Theatre and Dance. Along with providing valuable new performance and teaching space for Belmont’s theatre and dance students, the new theatre complex will allow Belmont to maintain and strengthen collaborations with local professional arts organizations.
The new 350-seat proscenium theatre will be equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and audio equipment and will serve as a performance and teaching facility. The black box theatre will be able to accommodate audiences from 100 to 150 and allow students to explore a variety of types of theatre performances.
“This new theatre complex will not only provide a beautiful space for student performances, but provides additional partnership opportunities between Belmont and some of the area’s most respected arts organizations,” Dr. Robert Fisher, Belmont University president, said. “These collaborative efforts will enhance students’ learning experiences by allowing them to work with professionals in their desired fields.”
The Department of Theatre and Dance currently resides in the Belmont Little Theatre, a makeshift performance space housed in Hail Hall, the oldest residence hall at Belmont. While the Little Theatre provides an intimate setting for theatre productions, it also presents certain challenges – the types of plays available to students are limited, dance students must utilize the Massey Performing Arts Center – a concert hall more conducive for musical performances than dance – and minimal teaching space for students interested in set design, costume construction, lighting and sound. The new theatre complex will better accommodate the talents of Belmont’s theatre and dance students.
The university is enthusiastic about the inaugural season representing a year of collaborations. With the creation of two new venues, Belmont is developing even stronger relationships with professional arts organizations in Nashville including: Actors Bridge Ensemble, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville Children’s Theatre, Nashville Opera, Nashville Ballet and Rejoice! Ministries. Actors Bridge Ensemble began on Belmont’s campus 10 years ago and its artistic director serves on Belmont’s faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance. The university recently collaborated with Nashville Shakespeare Festival on a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and looks forward to furthering this partnership by providing more opportunities for productions. The new theatre complex will serve as the temporary home for Nashville Children’s Theatre in their 2007-08 season while their venue undergoes renovations. Nashville Ballet will continue to collaborate with the dance program on its annual spring production. A student is participating in an internship at Rejoice! Ministries, a dance studio in East Nashville for underprivileged children in the area, and Belmont is exploring various collaborative opportunities with the dance program. In addition, the university is also collaborating with Father Ryan High School for the inaugural season and will be collaborating with a different high school each year.
The Belmont theatre complex is scheduled for completion in September 2007. A reception to celebrate this new venture at Belmont will be held at the construction site at 2100 Belmont Boulevard Thurs., November 9 at 9:30 a.m.
Pictured above: Belmont theatre students perform a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the construction site of the new theatre complex.
“Belmont excited about new theater complex” – The Tennessean, November 22, 2006