The Studio Theatre: Good News for Campus Creativity

APU's new Studio Theatre was christened on September 7 with a party offering hot pizza and a warm welcome to freshmen of all majors interested in drama. A multi-purpose space designed to fulfill Theatre Arts needs and provide for more student productions, the theater provides an exciting new outlet for creative collaborations on APU’s campus.

Besides serving as a lobby for main stage productions, the small theater has been made into an ideally intimate setting for acting classes, many of which formerly took place in ordinary classrooms. The location, just off the main entrance to APU's Black Box Theatre, will allow some classes the flexibility to use both venues at once, and others, like directing and advanced acting, to be held concurrently and interact with each other. Complete with a dance floor and an 8-foot mirror spanning the length of one wall, the theater also serves as a dance studio where musical casts can rehearse.

Curtained in black from floor to ceiling, the theater's purpose will culminate in student productions. In the Studio Theatre, student directors have the freedom to use seating and lighting configurations that were impossible on the main stage. "It's a great place to do experimental theater," said Theatre Arts instructor Brian Mercer, who expects to see an "awful lot of original work" produced in the new theater.

In the past, the number of student productions had been limited due to an already full schedule, and the experience of being directed by faculty (a rarity at most schools) winning out over the chance for students to direct. Without losing the advantage of faculty direction, increased student productions will make APU more competitive with larger universities where nearly all productions are student-directed, said Mercer.

And more productions mean more chances to be seen. "A big part of getting students noticed is having managers and agents see them perform," said Mercer, noting that the limited number of main-stage productions made this difficult in the past.

Like the new Theatre Arts major—designed to be small enough to double with a second major—the new theater is bound to bring together various interests with unique results. "I can envision a theater arts major directing a show, collaborating with an art major to put together the set, an English major to write the script, and a business major to help with production," said Mercer. Altogether, the Studio Theatre should make this season of APU Drama one of the most interesting yet.

To stay updated on the forthcoming excitement at the Studio Theatre, please contact [email protected].