Tag Archives: Blackstone Hall

"Rumors" Set

SPACE TO PERFORM: Students actors make themselves at home on the set designed by Carl Tallent (01C) for BCTC’s fall production of Neil Simon’s “Rumors.” Photo by student Lindsey Campbell.

Carl Tallent Working on the Set of "Rumors."

Carl Tallent working on the set of “Rumors.” Photo by student Jacob Bushey.

It’s been more than 17 years since Carl Tallent (01C) graduated from Berry, but when he returned to campus in September to assist with set design for the Berry College Theatre Company’s production of Neil Simon’s Rumors, it felt like no time had passed at all.

Tallent, who has put his Berry-honed skills to good use working on props for Broadway productions such as Rock of Ages and Cirque du Soleil, did note one impressive change – new facilities for the dramatic arts in the form of Sisters Theatre and an updated Blackstone Hall, both funded by the generous gifts of alumni and friends.

“It seems like the resources have really grown,” he said. “There’s a new costume shop and a new theatre. It is a really exciting time.”

In addition to his Broadway production work, Tallent has also showcased his talents designing shows for community theatres and high schools and creating window displays on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. When Associate Professor of Theatre Alice Bristow contacted him about the possibility of sharing his experience with current students, he was happy to oblige.

Students Building "Rumors" Set

Students gain valuable experience building the set for “Rumors.” Photo by student Lindsey Campbell.

“I really love working with students,” he said. “These people are just starting to do work outside of Berry, so it’s exciting to advise them and help them get jobs.”

When Tallent first arrived at Berry as a student, he wanted to be an actor. His work in the scene shop opened up new possibilities.

“I was always artistic and crafty, but I never thought of set design as a career,” he said.

His professor thought he had skill, both in set painting and set design, and encouraged him to explore those options.

“If I had been at a larger school I might not have explored doing set design, but it wound up being what I was passionate about,” Tallent said. “It was great that at Berry we were able to experience all different aspects of theatre, so I discovered that set design was what I wanted to do.”

Click here for more on Tallent’s visit.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

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Audrey Morgan at Sisters Theatre Dedication

Audrey Morgan stands in front of a portrait of herself and sister Bobbie Bailey in the lobby of Berry’s new theatre.

“The dedication of this theatre is nothing short of a miracle. Less than two years ago, it was only a dream.” – Audrey Morgan

Dry eyes were scarce Oct. 6 as students, faculty, alumni and friends joined Audrey Morgan and her family for the dedication of Sisters Theatre. The name of Berry’s newest fine arts facility celebrates the legacy of love and lifelong commitment to the arts shared by Morgan and her sister, the late Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

“For me personally, the new theatre has deep meaning,” Morgan expressed. “I was very blessed to have as my sister Bobbie Bailey. Our lives as sisters and best friends were entwined for 85 years; our names as business partners entwined for 55 years. And now with this beautiful new theatre on the Berry campus that I love so much, our names are going to be entwined for years to come. Tonight is truly a mountaintop experience for me. I could not be happier or more honored.”

Morgan, a Berry Board of Visitors member and recipient of the college’s honorary doctorate, played a critical role in the now-completed $6.7 million campaign to fund the theatre’s construction and associated improvements to Blackstone Hall. Her $1 million challenge gift initiated fundraising in 2015; a year later, a second $1 million gift was announced, this one from the foundation of her late sister.

Students and faculty were thrilled to take possession of their new 9,226 square-foot performance home, which features a black-box stage with adjustable seating for up to 276. Coupled with the improvements to Blackstone Hall, the new facility doubles the amount of functional space available to Berry’s theatre program.

The Berry College Theatre Company christened the new facility with its fall production of Crimes of the Heart. Next up is Make Merry (Or How to Survive Your Family on Holidays), scheduled for Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1-2. Click here to order tickets.

Sisters Theatre Photo Gallery

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Project champion Audrey Morgan received a well-deserved standing ovation during a Feb. 23 “topping-out” celebration marking the halfway point in construction for Berry’s new theatre.

Work on the 9,226 square-foot addition to Blackstone Hall is progressing rapidly, with completion expected as early as May 30. Students, faculty, donors and friends got a glimpse of the developing space during the luncheon, which was held inside the four walls that soon will house a black-box stage with adjustable seating for up to 276, depending on the needs of a particular production. Construction and design partners in attendance praised the cooperation and assistance of Berry’s theatre faculty and facilities staff in helping to bring the project to fruition.

It was Morgan’s $1 million challenge gift that initiated fundraising for the now-completed $6.7 million theatre campaign in fall 2015. A year later, at the project groundbreaking, she announced a second $1 million commitment, this one from the foundation of her late sister, Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

Morgan, an honorary alumna and member of the Board of Visitors, spoke fondly of her sister at the topping out and graciously thanked all “who had a part in making this dream a reality.” Later, President Steve Briggs proclaimed to the theatre students in attendance, “This, my friends, is for you.”

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With their traditional home temporarily unavailable due to ongoing construction of Berry’s new theatre and associated work in Blackstone Hall, the Berry College Theatre Company took its show on the road in early December — spreading a little Christmas cheer in the process.

Following up on an impressive outdoor production of Peter and the Starcatcher staged at the BOLD ropes course in early fall, the troupe decked the halls of Krannert Center the first week in December for A Charlie Brown Christmas, doing one matinee for local schoolchildren and four others for the campus community and general audiences.

Student director AnnaBeth Crittenden enjoyed bringing the Charles Schulz classic to Berry, noting, “Even after watching the Christmas special upwards of 100 times, I still get chills. There is so much humanity and light in the show that I’ve loved to bring out onto the stage.”

According to Director of Theatre Dr. Anna Filippo, the students are making the most of their temporary displacement from Blackstone (the new theatre will be completed in time for fall semester). She stated, “While not having a conventional stage has posed several challenges for the students, they have gained experience in mobile set building and outdoor performance.”

The Berry troupe will continue its “road tour” April 4-9, performing Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Kilpatrick Commons.

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

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Berry parents Rick and Barbara Gaby have committed $300,000 in matching funds to encourage gifts supporting the renovation of Ford Auditorium into a first-class recital hall. These funds will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for new commitments by others, doubling the impact of such gifts. Similar matching programs have been successful in generating support for Gate of Opportunity Scholarships, Clark Track and, most recently, the new theatre under construction at Blackstone Hall.

The $4.9 million renovation of Ford Auditorium will breathe new life into Berry’s signature venue for music performance. Planned enhancements include an enlarged stage; 366 seats in an arched configuration; a redesigned balcony; high-performance acoustics; digital lighting and sound systems; climate-controlled instrument storage; a renovated foyer and lobby; and restoration of historic architectural elements.

Contact Scott Breithaupt at 706-238-5897 or sbreithaupt@berry.edu for more information on the matching program. Many naming opportunities are available. To make an online gift, click www.berry.edu/gift and select “Ford Auditorium renovation” from the “Campaign Priorities” menu.

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A turn of the shovel signaled a new era for Berry’s fine arts program as ground was broken Sept. 27 for a new campus theatre adjacent to Blackstone Hall. Adding to the excitement was news of a surprise $1 million gift from the foundation of project champion Audrey Morgan’s late sister, Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

“Over the years I’ve volunteered and supported a lot of great causes, and standing right by my side and supporting me in all of my endeavors was my sister and business partner, Bobbie Bailey,” said Morgan, an honorary Berry alumna and member of the Board of Visitors. “The Berry project was no different.”

Thanks to the Bailey Foundation gift, fundraising for the new theatre and associated improvements to Blackstone has now exceeded $6 million, leaving the project just $600,000 short of completion. Morgan played a key role in that success with her fall 2015 challenge gift of $1 million, which was contingent on construction beginning in 2016.

“This is not a ‘build it and hope they will come’ project, because they are already here,” Morgan said, praising the quality of the students, faculty and staff in the Berry College Theatre Company. “They deserve a first-class facility.”

Construction of the 250-seat theatre is expected to be completed in time for the 2017-18 academic year. Click here to help complete funding for the project.

Additional Coverage: Around Berry Photo Gallery, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Audrey Morgan

Audrey Morgan

Todd Brooks

Todd Brooks

The visionary donor who helped spur development of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program and the administrator who has led Berry’s athletic program during a period of tremendous growth have been granted honorary membership in the Berry Alumni Association. Audrey Morgan and Todd Brooks join an impressive list that includes former college presidents, beloved faculty members and other close Berry friends.

Morgan has committed more than $7.5 million to programs and facilities benefiting Berry students, including $1 million in matching funds to encourage support for a new campus theatre. She is a member of the Board of Visitors and a recipient of Berry’s honorary doctorate.

Brooks, meanwhile, has served two stints as athletic director, helping guide Berry’s transition to NCAA Division III and the Southern Athletic Association and assisting in the planning process for the Cage Center and Valhalla.

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Cabaret Performance ImageMomentum is building for the dramatic arts at Berry, with fundraising surpassing $3 million for new and improved campus theatre facilities and attendance reaching new heights during the Berry College Theatre Company’s February production of Cabaret. More than 70 students worked on stage and off to bring the Tony Award-winning musical to life on the Berry stage, and their efforts did not go unrewarded. Attendance totaled nearly 1,300 for the eight shows (more than 80 percent capacity), breaking the previous record set by Little Shop of Horrors in 2014.

Audrey MorganAmong those who turned out was Audrey Morgan, the Board of Visitors member and recipient of Berry’s honorary doctorate whose $1 million challenge gift has spurred significant additional support for construction of a new theatre and renovation of Blackstone Hall. In recognition of her generosity and leadership, the stage in the new theatre will be named in her honor. If you share Mrs. Morgan’s desire to see construction on a new theatre begin in 2016 and would like to take advantage of the matching funds she has made available, click www.berry.edu/gift or contact Scott Breithaupt (91C, 96G) at sbreithaupt@berry.edu.

All gifts should be designated to “New theatre and Blackstone Hall renovation.”

Around Berry: Cabaret Photo Gallery

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Animal Science Laboratory at Rollins

Architectural rendering of the Animal Science Laboratory at Rollins, slated for construction later this year.

Giving to LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity has now surpassed $91 million! This includes more than $43 million in commitments for Gate of Opportunity and general use scholarships. We are truly grateful to everyone in the Berry community who has supported the campaign to date. A special shout out goes to our alumni, whose gifts account for nearly half the campaign total. Thank you for your support!

Highlights in 2015 included the opening of two major campaign priorities – the new campus Welcome Center and Valhalla stadium for football, lacrosse, and track and field – and Audrey Morgan’s $1 million challenge commitment to fast-track fundraising for the renovation of Blackstone Hall and construction of a new campus theatre. There was also further development of initiatives within Berry’s Integrity in Leadership and Entrepreneurship centers.

Construction of two other campaign-funded projects – the Animal Science Laboratory at Rollins and an event pavilion at Oak Hill – is on tap for 2016. In addition, fundraising is underway for Ford Auditorium’s renovation as a recital hall and construction of an animal science addition for McAllister Hall.

Visit www.berry.edu/lifeready to learn more about the various priorities, and thanks again for helping to make the dream of a “life-ready” education a reality for our students!

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Theatre Rendering: Interior

Architectural rendering of planned Berry theatre.

Plans to build a new theatre on campus have a champion in Berry Board of Visitors member Audrey Morgan. She has made a challenge commitment to match the first $1 million in gifts to the project dollar for dollar – if the $3.3 million needed for the new theatre is raised by June 30. Her goal is to put fundraising on the fast track so that construction can begin next summer.

Audrey Morgan Portrait

Audrey Morgan

“We learn so much about who we are as individuals and as a community through the arts,” Morgan said. “I am honored to help bring facilities to Berry that will give such wonderful, talented students new opportunity to grow artistically and personally. These improvements in support of the arts are important for the students and community at Berry and need to happen soon.”

News of Morgan’s challenge was met with excitement on social media and rousing applause during Mountain Day performances of The Nerd, the first production of Berry’s 2015-16 theatre season.

The planned theatre, an addition to Blackstone Hall, will provide a comfortable setting for an audience of 312. A modified thrust stage will be supported by state-of-the-art lighting, sound and curtain systems. A $1.9 million renovation of the main floor of Blackstone Hall will follow, providing a large acting studio/classroom, updated scene shop with paint booth, costume shop with dye area, dressing areas, meeting space, and offices.

Gifts (which literally will be doubled by the match – up to the first $1 million received) can be made online or by contacting Scott Breithaupt (91C, 96G) at sbreithaupt@berry.edu. Be sure to direct your gift to the theatre/Blackstone Hall project.

Visit the LifeReady website for project details.

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First-class facilities, centers for integrity in leadership and entrepreneurship, enhancements to the Work Experience Program, generous scholarships, and new student mentoring initiatives are the focus of LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity.

Together, these campaign priorities will build on Berry’s historic mission of educating the head, heart and hands and further strengthen opportunities for students to discover their gifts and realize their potential. The result will be graduates who leave Berry even better prepared to improve their homes, workplaces and communities.

“Opportunity long has been Berry’s pledge to hardworking students,” said Barry Griswell (71C), retired chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group and campaign co-chair with fellow college trustee Randy Berry. “The experience of a Berry education has changed my own life and others, while the character of a Berry education has changed communities for the better. We want to continue this important work.”

The campaign launch was accompanied by news that more than $73 million in gifts and pledges were already in hand. These early commitments – made during the four years preceding the May 17 kickoff event – include $24 million to support an eventual total of 130 innovative, mission-based Gate of Opportunity Scholarships. Funding also has been completed for the McAllister Hall endowment supporting science education and science-based scholarships.

Future commitments will make possible major facilities enhancements for Berry’s growing animal science program and much-needed renovations for the college’s primary performing arts venues, Ford Auditorium and Blackstone Hall. Other brick-and-mortar projects include a campus welcome center and entry enhancements; the Valhalla stadium for football, lacrosse, and track and field; and the recently completed renovation of Roy Richards Memorial Gymnasium.

Learning experiences will be enriched through centers focused on integrity in leadership and entrepreneurship, while work experiences – long a hallmark of a Berry education – will be enhanced through gifts supporting Berry Student Enterprises and other high-level student work positions. New mentoring programs will help students maximize the opportunities afforded by their Berry experience.

Details about each campaign priority can be found at www.berry.edu/lifeready. The site also includes information about giving options alumni and friends can use to help make these projects a reality. Gifts of any size through June 2020 count toward the campaign total.

“We could not be where we are today without your support, and we will not achieve the goals of this campaign without your help going forward,” President Steve Briggs said in an email message to alumni. “We have the opportunity to have a profound impact on Berry and the lives of future students.”

Campaign launch.

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