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Reed Breaks Ground for Performing Arts Building

By Chris Lydgate '90 on June 13, 2011 01:17 PM

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By Alex Walker '12

President Colin Diver and several professors broke ground for Reed's new $28 million performing arts building before a crowd of alumni celebrating Centennial Reunions last week.

Standing on the future building site between Kaul Auditorium and Anna Mann, President Diver declared that the performing arts would no longer be "at the margins" of Reed and said the facility would be "the completion of a long-term vision" for the college.

Professor Kathleen Worley [theatre 1985-] noted that the event's description was off the mark. The description read "Come celebrate with those who will be impacted by the transformative gathering and learning space." As the audience chuckled at the dread word 'impacted,' Worley pointed out that "the building is designed not to impact us but to liberate us," a comment that drew enthusiastic applause from alumni who remember rehearsing in corridors and building sets in distant garages.

Professors Virginia Hancock '62 [music 1991-], David Schiff [music 1980-], and Carla Mann '81 [dance 1995-] talked about their excitement and anticipation for the new building and the recognition it will bring to the importance of the performing arts.

Perhaps the most dramatic part of the ceremony was the shovel dance enacted by Curtis Carlyle of Do Jump (a local company of "actorbats" founded by Robin Lane '75). Clad in a flowing black academic robe, Carlyle danced with a golden shovel, first twirling it like a drum-major's baton, then balancing it on his chin while juggling golden trowels.

Finally, President Diver and the four professors hoisted golden shovels and got to work spading turves until they had dug a hole the size of a washbowl--a modest indentation that will grow to have a giant impact on the performing arts at Reed.