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Sherman Ave building to be new QU theater
Quinnipiac’s theater department will be getting a new space to work and perform at on Sherman Avenue.
The building, located at 515 Sherman Ave., is a property that was purchased by the university in 1974, according to Vice President of Facilities and Capital Planning Sal Filardi.
“It’s not a building we bought, it’s a building that we’ve owned for quite some time,” Filardi said. “It was identified for the PA (Physician Assistant) program… it’s been historically part of our programs.”
After being used as a classroom building for many years, 515 Sherman Ave. is currently vacant. According to Filardi, in the most recent past, it has been used for furniture storage, as well as for Hamden fire and police training.
Filardi said that right now, there are two spaces in the College of Arts (CAS) Building 2, the black box theater and a music rehearsal space, that need to be relocated. That is where the Sherman Ave property comes into play.
“This is going to be a real theater space,” Filardi said. “The black box will be state of the art. It will have a grid above, a lighting system… people will be able to learn not just act… They can learn set design and lighting design because it will be a real functioning black box theater.”
Assistant Teaching Professor of Theater Kevin Daly said this will be a huge upgrade for the theater program
“[The theater will be] equipped with a two-story black box theater that can be shaped in many diverse setups,” Daly said. “We will have a scenic shop, design studio, dressing rooms, a full lobby, wing space, classrooms, faculty offices, a student lounge, and all new lighting and sound equipment.”
In addition to the black box theater in CAS, the theater program also works out of Buckman Theater. Senior english and theater double major Theo Pinnow said Buckman was built to be a lecture hall, not a theater.
“It’s not meant to be a theater. They installed some stuff for theatrical lighting but the space isn’t suited for it,” Pinnow said. “We fight the space to make theater there and we’ve done pretty well. Our department has grown and we’re kind of outgrowing our space. We’re long overdue that a space is dedicated to the arts.”
According to Filardi, renovations started a couple months ago and Filardi hopes the project will be done in time for the start of the Fall 2017 semester.
“It’s an adaptive reuse of an existing building. It’s kind of responsible planning,” Filardi said. “We took a building that was underutilized and we are remodeling it for a current need and reusing the same building.”
Because the new theater is off campus, Pinnow is hoping the university helps out with transportation. Pinnow said the theater on Sherman Ave will become part of the university shuttles route.
“I totally understand for underclassmen that don’t have cars that it’s going to be annoying to get to rehearsal because pretty much everything is going to be over [to Sherman Ave] now,” Pinnow said. I’m hoping the shuttles will be consistent, I know it will be on their route but rehearsals tend to go late for theater.”
Senior psychology major and theater minor Julia Daniels loves the fact that this new space will give theater students more opportunity to practice true theater, both on the performance side and on the technical side.
“It’s not just focusing on the actors and performers, which as important as that is, we also need more space for many of the technical people who are involved,” Daniels said. “We definitely need more of the space for people to be able to work and build the sets… there’s a lot of students who have the interest in that and to give them the opportunity is amazing.”
Daniels also said she hopes this new theater will help expand the program and gives it the recognition is deserves.
“It’s nice because we’re not getting pushed to the wayside because the does happen with the arts a lot,” Daniels said. “We’re being recognized as we’re not just a tiny theater department… hopefully this gives this department the recognition that it needs and all the hardwork that goes into it from students and faculty.”
Daly said his student are thrilled.
“Those who are not graduating are already dreaming up the creative ways they will produce theater in the new space,” Daly said. “Those who are graduating are dreaming up ways they can come back and work as alumni in the new space.”