Drama addition to start construction
New 300-seat, $13.5 million Ruth Caplin Theatre will provide improved space for drama, dance
The University broke ground yesterday on the $13.5 million addition to the drama building, which will include the Ruth Caplin Theatre.
The theatre will be located between the 600-seat Culbreth Theatre and 150-seat Helms Theatre. The Ruth Caplin Theatre will contain a 300-seat thrust stage - a stage surrounded on three sides by an audience.
College Dean Meredith Woo noted the importance of this addition to the advancement of the arts at the University.
"The Ruth Caplin Theatre is a vital addition to the Drama department's repertoire," Woo said. "A performance in the Ruth Theatre, where members of the audience surround the players on three sides, will create and immediacy and connection we could never accomplish in the Culbreth and on a scale not possible in the Helms."
Drama department chair Tom Bloom expressed similar sentiments, noting the new facility's ability to change the drama experience for the University community.
The theater will provide an arts space "that will thrust our audiences into an intimate and engaging relationship with actors and dancers who appear on that stage," Bloom said in an e-mail.
The theater is named after Ruth Sacks Caplin, wife of Mortimer Caplin, an alumnus who graduated from the College in 1937 and the Law School in 1940. In addition to donating $4 million for the construction of the facility, the couple has funded many visiting professors and contributed to the Law School.
"I'm thrilled by the concept and design of the new thrust stage theater available for dance, drama as well as film showings," Ruth Caplin said, also noting the importance of the flexible sprung-floor stage to dancers' feet and performance. "Happily, it will also answer the cry for more performance space for the University's exploding dance program."
In addition to the Caplins' generosity, another donation of $1.6 million by drama alumna Laura Chadwick and her husband will be used for the construction of a rooftop terrace garden. The current vision for the space is to transform it into a sculpture garden that can be used for pre-event receptions. A $4 million anonymous contribution was also made to complete other aspects of the new Arts Grounds.
Construction will begin in January pending approval of the design by the Board of Visitors.?