Studio Theatre Approaches Renovation


The aging UIS Studio Theatre, part of the Department of Art, Music, and Theatre (AMT) and located on level one of the Performing Arts Center (PAC), has been approved for a $150,000 grant for renovations from the Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Impact of the Arts and Humanities.

The project proposal was written by Brian Rives, director of Sangamon Auditorium. He asked for help from Eric Thibodeaux- Thompson, chair of AMT and director of UIS Theatre, since the department uses the Studio Theatre the most and will benefit the most from this renovation.

The renovation was in the early 1980s. Although the space is still safe and usable, it is showing signs of this age. One of the biggest problems has been the seating. The seats and floor beneath them squeak and crack when people move on them, and this has been a constant complaint among patrons.

Accordingly, the current in-the-round seating arrangement will be replaced with traditional seating, with the chairs all facing a stage on the far side of the room. However, the seating arrangements will be flexible to provide a variety of arrangements that can be used, depending on need. Other possible improvements may include a facelift to the main entrance area and new lighting and sound equipment. This renovation is expected to be mostly completed over the summer to be ready for use during the fall 2019 semester.

UiS Theatre, UIS Music and many community organizations also use this space. All of these organizations will benefit from this remodel. One of the last productions in the Studio Theatre before its renovation will be Sarah Ruhl’s play DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE, which opens April 12. UIS Theatre provides details and ticket information at: www.