WCSU's new performing arts center a 'game-changer'

November 2, 2014
There was a packed house Sunday at the Visual and Performing Arts Center at Western Connecticut State University.

The Danbury Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Ariel Rudiakov, performed Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 in a free concert in the center's concert hall.

"The acoustics were great," said Kiki Jones, a horn player with the orchestra.

"Having the house so close to the musicians made it a much more intimate experience," horn player Marc Perler said. "The audience was more involved."

The concert hall offers a tri-level, in-the-round seating for an audience of up to 350. A jazz concert brought the hall alive on Friday. The Ives Symphony Orchestra performance in October similarly filled the hall.

"So far, the center has been a complete game-changer," said Dan Goble, dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts. "The performances that we've had are a notch up from what we had offered before."

The concert audience Sunday was comprised of residents from Danbury, Brookfield and Redding among other area towns.

"I liked the wood," Lorraine Nelson, of Redding, said of the aesthetics of the hall. "I liked that it's not too big and there was natural light."

"It was wonderful," said Jane Wilson, of Danbury. "The sound was magnificent. I was in the balcony on the side, but when I close my eyes, I was right there with the orchestra."

Goble noted, "The performances are enhanced by the superior acoustics. For a student, faculty or guest performer on stage, the heightened ability to hear each other provides a balance to their playing that makes for a better performance."

Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" had a two-week run in the Studio Theatre with all 125 seats filled for each performance.

"The professional sound system and lighting, the quality of the theater space I think it enhanced the student actors interaction with Shakespeare's play," Goble said.

The 125-seat studio theater has a flexible stage that can be set as an oval, in a round shape or as a square. The 350-seat main stage theater has a traditional format. The two-theatre rehearsal studios are equipped with audio/visual technology and sprung dance floors.

Danbury News-Times
By Susan Tuz