The curtain has risen on School of the Holy Child’s new theater. Up until now, students put on shows in the “gymatorium,” where all sporting and theatrical events were held.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
The curtain has risen on School of the Holy Child’s new theater. Up until now, students put on shows in the “gymatorium,” where all sporting and theatrical events were held. Although the girls were good sports about performing on a small stage among the bleachers, spring wood floors, basketball hoops, and fluorescent arena lighting, they are giving the new theater a standing ovation.
“We were extremely proud of what our girls have accomplished with limited facilities. Now, the space matches their level of excellence,” noted Head of School William C. Hambleton. “It’s a moment of pride.”
The theater made its debut at a school assembly the first day back from winter break. An inaugural full-scale production will come later this month with the Upper School’s presentation of “The Wizard of Oz” on February 26 and 27. In addition to great roles, memorable songs, and middle school munchkins, for the first time, the musical will reap the benefits of sophisticated equipment.
“In order to create a state-of-the-art theater, we paid a lot of attention to acoustics and lighting,” said Director of Arts Kimberly Calhoun, who worked very closely with sound and lighting consultants.
Weighing in on most design elements, she remarked, “It was very important to create a multi-functional space for liturgies and speaker series, as well as theatrical events.”
As director of all the school musicals and dramas, Calhoun knew exactly what to include on the school’s wish list. The renovation was made possible by the generous support of families and alumnae via a capital campaign, as well as by the Holy Child board of directors who oversaw the entire project.
In addition to high-tech sound and lighting equipment, the theater boasts a projector screen, stadium-style seating with 400 cushioned seats, and a gryphon blue velvet stage curtain to reflect the school colors. Backstage, there’s also ample room for props, a set construction shop with an entrance to the stage for easy loading, costume storage, and a dressing room even Broadway stars would fawn over.
“The students are so invested in the arts programs that I really wanted the girls to have a home,” said Calhoun.