Tucker Hall boasts new theater

Faculty and students were eager for the renovation of Florida A&M University’s historic Tucker Hall, but now everyone is waiting to see the remodeling of the Charles Winter Wood Theatre.

 “I think everyone is excited about it,” said Luther Wells, chairman of visual arts and humanities, and associate director of theatre.

Although there are some last minute touches on the renovation building, the students still manage to rehearse.

“The theatre is more intimate. People will feel more comfortable and hopefully they will see the production values of the show increase,” Wells said

Wells has been director of the theatre more than 17 years, and said that the changes made previous to the renovation to do even compare with those to date.

“The new Essential Theatre is more state of the art,” Wells said.

He said he believes the rebuilding of the theatre will motivate students.

Not only did this excite the students but also welcomed them. Every year the Essential Theatre’s performing students work hard to put together four to five shows throughout the school year for the campus to enjoy and support.

“There’s nothing like going to a live play and feeling the exchange of energy with the performers,” Wells said.

Carey Robinson was very pleased about the rebuilt Essential Theatre. He has worked alongside Wells for 17 years.

Robinson explained the new technology that was recently established.

“The sound system was permanently installed, which was never there before,” said Robinson. “I remember before I would have to bring in our touring small sound system last year.”

This new technology was able to give the theatre a professional commercial grade sound system. Not only was the sound system a change, but the sound board as well.

“It used to be an analog, but now it’s digital,” Robinson said. “We are firmly in the 21st century in terms of technology, where have projection capabilities, and recording capabilities for archival purposes.”

In addition to the updated lighting design, the Essential Theatre now has another first: A black box theatre.

“It’s an instructional facility, where you can teach the techniques of hanging lights, focusing on lights, and experimenting with the lights” Robinson said. 

The black box is mainly used for small performances and rehearsals while other rehearsals or constructions are taking place on the main stage.  The black box was a product of the faculty’s “wish list” to give the students something they never had before.

Many of the theatre’s students are thrilled about performing on stage and showing of their skills. Farah Bercy,  23, a senior theatre education student from Port St. Lucie and president of the Essential Theatre Union.

“I love acting as well as teaching others about a subject matter that I am extremely passionate about,” Bercy said.

She said she plans on getting more students involved in the Essential Theatre Union (ETU), before graduating. Although this is year her last year, she is very pleased about the restored theatre.

To see the production premiere of the new theatre you can watch the student preview of “The Exonerated” on Oct. 21 and 22 followed by the general opening on Oct. 22 through 24.