Installation of SkyDeck™ nears completion for Liberty University’s black box theatre located in Marie F. Green Hall.
The private University began its latest rounds of expansion in 2011 with a 120-million-dollar project to increase dorm space, green space, include more academic buildings and raise attendance capabilities to 20,000 resident students by 2020.
Renovations to the Theatre Department contributed to selling out every single show. At the time of its construction, Linda Nell Cooper, head of the Theatre Department, was already considering the future. She said the space may also provide “everything we desperately need but do not have.” This included easy access to refreshments for guests at intermission, scene and prop shops, and large restrooms. There is also space for a lobby and offices; plans are being considered for moving the entire department there, she said. They also hoped for a black box theater to be located close by.
In 2012, the Liberty University Department of Theatre Arts announced the formation of a professional theatre company to occupy the Tower Theatre. Named The Alluvion Stage Company, it hires professional actors who perform alongside students. The Department goal with this expansion was to raise set and costume quality to meet professional standards while also enriching student education through performing alongside professional talent. Since then, its productions have reached unparalleled success. In 2014, the original flight director for Broadway’s “Wicked” came to coach the cast of “The Little Mermaid”. With the growing reputation of the department and interest in the school and program, Liberty had also began collaborating with the Academy of Fine Arts to host performances in their Warehouse Theater.
Campus expansions well underway, it was clear that their dream of a black box and more production capability was a necessity. The black box was developed across the hall from the Tower Theatre, and by Fall 2016, the department including the School of Communications and Creative Arts along with the Liberty Studio and Digital Arts unified in Green Hall. It expanded student opportunity and program capability as more departments are now able to cross communicate and collaborate.
In the same year a university representative met with IASI representative Drew Becker at SETC where SkyDeck™ was being presented. It was undoubted that this was precisely the modern and innovative move to help push the professional capabilities of the program. It is quickly becoming a standard throughout the professional industry with more riggers preferring to work on a tension wire grid rather than risky ladders and man lifts. With full coverage extending over 3,300 square feet and two hinge panels, SkyDeck™ also increases the flexibility of the black box space.
With the huge amounts of success the Tower Theatre brought to Liberty University, we can’t wait to see what they will accomplish with their new Black Box theatre and SkyDeck™!
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