Nov 022005
Authors: Julia Carioti

After several long years, countless hours of frenzied effort and a sudden, almost devastating, funding drop, the new University Theatre finally celebrated its grand opening with a unique presentation of Waiting for Godot this past Friday.

Located within the University Center for the Arts (UCA) on Remington, this landmark opening is an important historical moment for CSU theatre. Built with the vision of functioning as the cultural center in a quickly growing community, the UCA is intended to support a School of the Arts at CSU.

However, when Colorado's money for capital construction suddenly halted in 2002, university officials were baffled on how to continue renovations. Having stopped the construction on the old Fort Collins High School, the 160,000-square-foot building was rendered useless for several years. As a result of the crisis, a plea went out to the community.

On the UCA Web site, sponsors write: "For more than thirty years, Colorado State's programs in music, theatre and dance have been located in separate buildings designed for other purposes. Students and faculty alike are compromised in their abilities. In the new facilities, performing and visual arts will have quiet rooms for practice, studios for creating, stages for performing and venues for outreach programs and visiting artists. Audiences will experience the full richness the arts can bring to their lives."

In the end, generous gifts from the Kenneth and Myra Monfort Foundation and the Bohemian Foundation finally helped allow the construction to continue. Dedicated to community care and improvement, the Bohemian Foundation donated a total of $20.1 million to the university for renovations, $4.9 million of which went to the theatre's completion.

The last phase of construction on the UCA itself won't be completed until 2008. Once finished, however, it will house the CSU music, theatre and dance classrooms along with offices, a historic costume collection, exhibition areas for permanent art collections, the Center for Biomedical Research in Music, a music therapy clinic, studios, two theatres and more. In addition, the 500-seat Edna Rizley Griffen Concert Hall, completed in April of 2004, is already in use.

The University Theatre is housed in the new Bohemian Complex along with the Studio Theatre. Seating 318, the University Theatre will replace the main stage at Johnson Hall from now on.

To celebrate the monumental finish of this new, much needed theatre, the doors opened with a dramatic presentation of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential playwrights, Waiting for Godot is probably the masterpiece of this Nobel Prize winning author. With such an important calendar event, CSU is pleased to have this celebrated play as its premier production.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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