Sneak Peek: Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre

March 07, 2023

By Office of Marketing

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre.
Photo by Scott Cook.

A behind-the-scenes first look at how the new Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre will further strengthen Rollins’ role as a leader in performing arts education.

On February 23, members of the Rollins Board of Trustees and a small group of alumni, donors, and friends of the College gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre, which will fully open in the fall.

After the ceremony, guests were treated to tours of the 16,165-square-foot facility in which students, faculty, and staff staged demonstrations in several of the centre’s state-of-the-art spaces.

The ribbon cutting at the Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre.
From left: Rollins’ producing director Thomas Ouellette joins donors Philip Tiedtke and Sally Albrecht ’76 and President Grant Cornwell for the Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre ribbon-cutting ceremony.Photo by Scott Cook.

“Students at one of the top theatre programs in the country deserve the finest facilities,” says Trustee Philip Tiedtke, whose $5 million gift made this project possible. “I’m thrilled to have helped launch this project.”

Celebrated composer Sally Albrecht ’76 also provided generous support in making this vision a reality, including donating a low-slung fountain that will soon complete the inviting space. Albrecht is excited about these intimate learning laboratories that will foster hands-on learning, radical experimentation, and student leadership.

Sally Albrecht ’76
Renowned composer and theatre and music double major Sally Albrecht ’76 provided generous support for the Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre. Photo by Scott Cook.

“When asked to come up with a phrase to engrave on the plaque near the fountain,” says Albrecht, “I tried to sum up my magical years at Rollins College: ‘A place to learn. A space to dream.’ I trust that future theatre and dance students will revel, innovate, dream, learn, and grow in this new magnificent facility.”

Here’s nearly the same sneak peek enjoyed by the Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre’s first visitors as it’s poised to usher in a new performing arts era at Rollins.

Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Center
Photo by Scott Cook.

Center Stage

The Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre is adjacent to the Annie Russell Theatre and just north of Keene Music Hall, anchoring a creative neighborhood of the arts on campus. Renowned architectural firm Baker Barrios designed the new space in harmony with Rollins’ iconic Mediterranean architecture. Topped with a red tile roof, the building features graceful arched doorways with classical columns and a covered walkway for talking scripts in the shade.

Black box theater inside the Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Designed for Discovery

At the heart of the new space is a 1,900-square-foot, custom-built black box theater, an ideal canvas for imagination and experimentation. It can host formal performances of up to 142 guests, integrating the latest in design, lighting, and sound systems. Pull-out seating risers enable layout transformations to various styles of theater, including the traditional proscenium, thrust (catwalk), and arena (audience on all four sides).

Improv, design, and acting workshops in Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Learning by Doing

Soon, aspiring actors, directors, and technicians will cut their teeth in the Sally K. Albrecht Studio Theatre, the Fred Stone Acting & Directing Laboratory, and the Design & Technology Laboratory—three intentionally designed classroom spaces that promise everything from improvisational and musical workshops to hands-on study focused on theatrical design.

Students dancing in the Dance Studio in Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Best Foot Forward

Students will hone their dance and choreography skills in a new dedicated Dance Studio that features professional flooring with floating subfloor and multipurpose marley overlay, natural light, top-line sound and AV equipment, and the professional finishing of full mirrors and barres.

Photos by Scott Cook.

Dress for Success

Theatre students with their eye on areas like costume design and stage management will soon have full use of the 2,400-square-foot Wynee Warden Costume & Technology Studio, which integrates a costume shop, fitting rooms, a draft room, and storage for the accoutrement of live productions such as props and regalia. Additionally, lighting gurus will have at their fingertips an innovative Yeager Light Lab that fine-tunes storytelling via a 1/6th-scale working model of a theater.

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