Sweet Briar’s Babcock Fine Arts Center has been under construction lately — in a good way. Thanks to a $30,000 grant from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, which is funded by donors, the theater is adding a new ticket booth in the lobby, as well as technical and sound booths in Murchison Lane Auditorium.
With renovations nearly complete, all three additions will be ready for use by March 31.
Sweet Briar theater professor and chair of the Performing Arts Division, Bill Kershner, said the upgrades would not just enhance public theater performances, but also improve educational opportunities for students.
“[Sound design] is becoming a very large part of theater now,” he said in an interview with the News & Advance.
The grant covers the cost of building a box office inside the lobby, relocating the technical booth from the second to the first floor and removing several theater seats in the auditorium to install a sound booth.
“You can’t mix [sound] unless you’re out in the audience,” Kershner said.
After renovations are complete, the theater will seat 526 people, down from 652.
In addition to Sweet Briar Theatre performances, Murchison Lane is home to the College’s annual Babcock Series, which draws nationally and internationally known theater and dance companies each semester, as well as the Julia B. Waxter Environmental Forum and speakers sponsored by the Lectures and Events Committee. Recent events include the dance troupe Pilobolus, U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox.
Category: Performing Arts