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Reinhardt breaks ground on new theater building

Support Reinhardt Theater

By Erika Neldner

“Shakespeare said, ‘The world is a stage and we are merely players.’ Now we will have a stage on which to play.”

Dr. Mark Roberts, vice president and dean for academic affairs, said those words as Reinhardt University broke ground on its much-anticipated theater building set to be completed in the spring.

The theater building is part of the full “Arts Around the Lake” project Reinhardt President Dr. Kina Mallard has envisioned.

dave nisbet and sarah williams“The theater groundbreaking was a momentous occasion, marking a new future for our theatre students,” Mallard said. “The theatre building is part of our vision for Arts around the Lake at Reinhardt as we become a destination for learning, arts, faith and culture. We hope the building will be completed by April in time for our seniors to perform their last play as Reinhardt students in their beautiful new home.”

Currently, the Falany Performing Arts Center, which features a concert hall and classrooms, sits on one end of Lake Mullenix, and the Fincher Art Building sits directly across on the other side.

The theatre building will sit on a third side overlooking the fountain and the lake, and a planned amphitheater will complete the project.

David Nisbet, director of Reinhardt’s Theatre Program, said he was overwhelmed with emotions at the sight of the groundbreaking Tuesday. He held back tears as he embraced students who felt the same overwhelming emotion as he did.

“I am excited. It is a dream come true. I never thought I would see this day and I have. It’s a beautiful day. God gave us great weather too,” Nisbet said.

The groundbreaking ceremony included President Mallard, Roberts, Ken White, vice chair of the Reinhardt Board of Trustees, Dr. Fred Tarrant, dean of the School of Performing Arts, Nisbet and senior musical theatre major Sarah Williams. The program featured Reinhardt students singing "Make Our Garden Grow" from opera Candide by Leonard Bernstein. Soloists Kat Manettas and Michael Vavases led the performance. School of Music instructor Brian Osborne accompanied the performers on the keyboard.

Osborne said he chose the selection because it embodied what Reinhardt is doing. The words to “Make Our Garden Grow” speak of growth and doing the things necessary to be fruitful. “Let dreamers dream what worlds they please; Those edens can’t be found; The sweetest flowers, the fairest trees, are grown in solid ground. We’re neither pure nor wise nor good, we’ll do the best we know; We’ll build our house and chop our wood and make our garden grow. And make our garden grow.”

“I chose it because I felt that it fit the event perfectly as well as the vision of the new building and ‘Arts around the Lake.’ It capitalizes on the idea that we are a family here at Reinhardt, working together, moving toward something really amazing,” Osborne said.

While the Falany Performing Arts Center is a beautiful concert hall, it is not a theatre. And theatre students and faculty currently do not have a permanent home for their needs, including a stage with a backstage, dressing rooms and a place to build sets.

The new theatre for the program which began four years ago will include a conservatory, black box theatre, portico, grand lobby, box office, north and south loggias, green room, dance room, performance studio, paint shop, scene shop, wardrobe shop, media classroom and faculty offices.

The fundraising effort for the theatre continues, and gifts are important to the success of the project. For information on how to give visit www.reinhardt.edu/thrive or contact Tim Norton, vice president for advancement & marketing at (770) 720-5545 or tan@reinhardt.edu

PHOTO: Top, right: Reinhardt musical theatre major applauds the groundbreaking of the new theatre alongside David Nisbet, director of the Reinhardt Theatre Program. Photo by Jeff Reed. 

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