New Roe Green Center Makes Its Official Debut
Kent State University's School of Theatre and Dance held its official grand opening of the new Roe Green Center for the School of Theatre and Dance on Saturday, Nov. 6. The new center is located at 1325 Theatre Drive in Kent.
Two years in the making, the new center features newly constructed areas, as well as remodeled spaces. The new construction includes the striking new glass lobby entrance for the Music and Speech Center and a 13,000 sq. ft., flexible seating black box theatre which accommodates up to 200 people and will be used for both performance and classroom space. The three new dance studios have sprung wood floors covered with marley dance surface, mirrors, fully equipped sound systems and pianos for class accompaniment.
Renovated spaces include lighting laboratory, props and crafts lab, workshops and classrooms, a recording studio, a costume shop, performance support space, and a welding lab.
The total project incorporated 73,500 square feet at a cost of $13 million.
The project was first initiated in 2005 when local philanthropist, arts patron and Kent State alumna Ms. Roe Green toured the School of Theatre and Dance and commented on how the school had outgrown its space and seemed to need more rehearsal space and dance facilities near the theatres. Soon after that, the Roe Green Foundation pledged $6.5 million to meet the school's needs. “Roe's generosity will greatly benefit each and every one of our students for years to come and for that we will forever be grateful,” said Dr. John R. Crawford, dean of the College of the Arts at Kent State.
“Now theatre and dance can be found under one roof for the first time since the areas merged in 1994,” said Cynthia Stillings, director of Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance. “We are thrilled to have everyone in the same building, and we're excited by the creative possibilities for collaborations by theatre, dance and music students.”
Green made history by making the largest single capital gift in the university's 100-year history.
The newly transformed building was designed by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, a firm in New York City specializing in the design of theaters for the performing arts. “The architects designed a fantastic addition that provides a dynamic transforming of the building,” said Director of Design and Construction Michael Bruder of Kent State's Office of the University Architect. “The design of the new lobby and black box theatre not only improve the student learning opportunities and patron experience, the architecture reflects the caliber and creativity of the works being prepared and performed by our theatre and dance students and faculty.”
The Nov. 6 grand opening event highlighted the use of all of the new spaces with students demonstrating in the various areas of dance, theatre, scenic design, lighting and technology, and included tours of the spaces as students performed various theatrical, vocal and dance demonstrations.
Kent State President Lester A. Lefton presents Roe Green with a pair of giant scissors prior to the official ribbon-cutting for the new Roe Green Center for the School of Theatre and Dance.