“We are all unbelievably excited about this,” said Robert Hillig, master electrician and production manager for the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. “Reaction to the renovation has been overwhelmingly positive. The faculty members who will direct in the space are already thinking of new ways to use the space.”
The production team is energized by the 400-foot expansion of the space, which allows for more flexibility in the production designs. The technicians also now have a new technical booth – Hillig said the previous booth was nicknamed “Das Booth,” referring to the confined submarine film – that will allow people to maneuver inside without clearing everyone out. Actors get updated dressing rooms, a makeup room, a green room and stage entries. Air conditioning will be a welcome addition for audiences and players alike.
“The air conditioning is still the most commented on change,” Hillig said. “Now we can truly concentrate on producing quality work.”
The Virginia Barnelle Theatre is one of two theatres at LMU. Strub Theatre is the mainstage playhouse on campus and seats approximately 180, while the Virginia Barnelle Theatre is a 60-seat black box used for experimental, edgy work that requires a more intimate setting. The renovation of the space makes the space more flexible for students and directors, as well as being more comfortable for audiences.
The construction will be completed in time for “Honey Brown Eyes,” the first production of the fall semester, on Thursday, Sept. 26.
The theatre is named for Virginia Barnelle, the founder of the Theatre Arts Department at Marymount College and a professor of theatre arts at Marymount College and LMU from 1950 to 1981. She is one of LMU’s Faculty Hall of Fame inductees.