many years Cal State Fullerton's College of the Arts, specifically
performance arts, has been bursting at the seams, physically and
creatively. That all changes Jan. 13, 2006, when
the university unveils its new Performing Arts Center -- 109,000
square feet of performance, rehearsal, laboratory, studio and
technical spaces that not only will expand the theatre, dance
and music programs' physical capabilities, but allow imaginations
to soar and explore new artistic possibilities.
Beyond the Dream
This new era for Cal State Fullerton's performing
arts is called "Beyond the Dream," says Jerry D. Samuelson,
dean of the College of the Arts. "We spent some time coming
up with a theme or idea, and we finally settled on 'Beyond the
Dream,' because this is a dream come true. But, it doesn't stop
here, which is why we chose the word 'beyond.' We see this as
a significant beginning -- this will change dramatically what
our departments can do with this new environment. It's our opportunity
to take this facility and run with it."
The "show" begins as guests approach the Performing
Arts Center from a newly created promenade leading from the Nutwood
Parking Structure and Visual Arts Center. Dramatic glass walls
along the front of the facility give the lobby an open, airy and
welcoming feeling. Inside, the spacious lobby -- with its mix
of cherry wood, glass and textile design elements -- will serve
as a reception area for the Vaughncille Joseph Meng Concert Hall,
as well as the James D. Young and Dale and Millie Hallberg theatres.
A World Class Concert Hall
With 800 seats, the Meng Concert Hall is the center's
largest performance space. Designed specifically for music, it
will be home to the university's choral and instrumental ensembles,
in addition to visiting artists.
"This will take us from having an adequate facility
to a world-class concert hall," says Marc R. Dickey, chair and
associate professor of music. "We'll be able to 'tune' the hall
by moving the acoustic canopy up and down, as well as the curtains
on the sides. Even the seats have been designed, so that, whether
there are 200 or 800 people in the audience, it will sound the
same. When you hear an oboe solo, you're going to feel like you
can reach out and touch the musician."
A Dramatic Theatre and Room to Dance
Major dramatic productions will be performed in
the Young Theatre, a 250-seat, thrust-stage venue -- with floor
and balcony seating on three sides -- making the theater-going
experience more intimate for audience and actors alike.
Built in the black box tradition with flexible
seating such as "in-the-round," the Hallberg Theatre will feature
experimental productions and new plays.
"Most schools have proscenium [the most typical
formation with audience sitting in front of a stage framed on
sides and top] and black box theaters, but very few have state-of-the-art
thrust-seat theaters," says Susan Hallman, chair and professor
of theatre and dance. "And, very few have state-of-the-art concert
halls that are exclusively designed for music -- they're usually
Upstairs, the McGarvey Family Dance Studio will
accommodate instruction and performance -- with seating for 50
-- and will serve as the site to showcase new dance choreography,
as well as individual dance recitals.
Just as vital as what audiences see on stage are
the behind-the-scenes activities and support. Up-to-date technology
and design are integrated into the building's lighting and sound
systems, rehearsal spaces, costume and scene shops, makeup, lighting
and recording studios, dressing and warm-up rooms -- providing
students and faculty members the environments needed to enrich
the learning experience.
"This brings us to the cutting edge of technology,
like CAD [computer-aided design]," says Hallman. "All of the drafting
for set design, lighting, costume and props is done on computers.
Students have to know this, because it's the standard in the industry."
The spacious scene shop was designed to be adjacent
to the Little Theatre in the original Performing Arts Center.
Previously, says Hallman, "sets and props had to be built in pieces
in the basement and then carried up stairs. Now, we can build
sets to size and roll it into the Little Theatre or roll it down
a short hallway to the Young Theatre."
Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, now known as
Pfeiffer Partners Inc., served as the architectural firm. Kajima
Construction Services Inc. led phase one of the construction,
followed by Hensel Phelps Construction Co., which headed phase
two. Mark Rothermel of McKay Conant Brook Inc. is the acoustician.
Stephen Chamberlain of design and construction is campus project