Department of Theatre set to receive new scene shop
By: Chris Lamonica
Kean University’s Department of Theatre is set to receive a new scene shop in its Vaughn-Eames building within the next 12 to 18 months.
The new scene shop will offer more space and better scenery for students to work with, according to Holly Logue, the former chairperson of the theatre department.
“The space will be large enough to construct scenery as well as assemble it, prior to moving it over to the Wilkins Theatre or the Zella Fry [Theatre] in [Vaughn-Eames],” Logue said.
Because the department does not have traditional classrooms, most class sessions take place on one of the two spaces designated for performances, in the computer lab, or in the costume shop. Due to a lack of space within the current scene shop, the theatre department was forced to build their scenery on stage, leading to a disruption of both classes and rehearsals.
During the National Association of Schools of Theatre’s last visit to Kean, they recommended that the addition of the new scene shop be made a priority.
“The president responded affirmatively and we have been working on the planning of this addition for a good while now,” Logue said.
The Kean Board of Trustees approved the new scene shop on Sept. 16, with the project’s funding coming from a capital investment bond Kean applied for and received last year. The resources and funding were available in 2005, but the cost had increased since then, leading to additional funds becoming necessary.
This new scene shop is also set to include equipment that will simplify the building process involved in putting on a production.
“The facility will have some newer equipment, such as new saws and a paint frame that is large enough to paint a scenic drop (painted background) for the Wilkins stage,” Logue said.
The scenery is designed by either members of the theatre design faculty or qualified students who have demonstrated the necessary skills. The painting, building, and assembly are done by students. Students interested in theatre can lend a hand in this process, regardless of their major.
“Non-majors are always welcome,” Logue said. “I happen to feel that our students are amazingly talented, and we hear repeatedly from our audiences that they are amazed at how skilled these undergraduate actors are. What is important to note is that having excellent facilities can affect recruitment, so if we are looking for the next generation of talent for on stage and behind the scenes, having improved facilities will be a tremendous help.”