Tara Brooke Watkins has been working all summer with student volunteers and industry professionals to get the new dance studio and black box theatre on their way to being up and running. These two additions are part of the ongoing renovations taking place in the Cove Fine Arts Center led by Watkins and the South Shore School of Theatre. These renovations began in 2017.
Some people may be wondering why renovations were needed at all. The truth is that these renovations will help those who use the building often, along with helping recruit students. Anyone who had been in the Cove rehearsal room knows that it was not the nicest space appearance-wise. Watkins revealed that “We would literally watch people’s faces kind of fall when they would walk up there.” These new renovations will hopefully help prevent that from happening.
However, when planning these renovations, she had to keep in mind that people still would need those spaces. Several of the musical groups on campus use Cove for rehearsals and South Shore School of Theatre, a local theatre school Watkins heads, utilizes the space for classrooms as we do. She made sure while designing these two spaces that they could still be used in those ways.
Neither the black box theatre nor the dance studio are finished yet, but the plans are in motion to have them finished as soon as possible. A black box theatre, made popular in the 1920s, has four walls, a ceiling, and a floor all painted black. It is quite literally a black box in which people perform. It will be getting proper lighting as well as stage lighting in the upcoming months. As for the dance studio, the mirrors still need to be hung but are completely useable now, and the ballet bar will be installed after the mirrors are hung this winter.
These new renovations are only the beginning of making Cove the best it can be. Watkins hopes that “[…] for the next ten years we can be updating Cove”, so as long as the support keeps coming, the improvements will keep happening. Support is being shown by many people whenever a fundraiser is done, or donations are asked for. However, as Watkins stated, “If you see that a company is actually using funds appropriately for their mission, I think you’re more inspired to give.” Getting these spaces renovated is a good way of showing that the theatre department is serious about making the best quality shows they can.