FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 17, 2015
JAMESTOWN, N.C. — Guilford Technical Community College celebrated an exciting chapter in the college’s history Thursday evening with the official unveiling of the new Center for Creative and Performing Arts Theatre. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and building dedication were held to mark the occasion.
Located on the High Point Campus, the Center for Creative and Performing Arts Theatre will serve as an additional teaching lab and performance space for students enrolled in GTCC’s Creative and Performing Arts programs, comprised of entertainment technology, theatre and music. The two-story 11,705 square-foot-facility features a modified black box stage and theater seating for 82.
The GTCC Theatre Program presented “Greater Tuna,” the first public performance in the new Center for Creative and Performing Arts Theatre, to a sold-out audience on April 17.
The Center for Creative and Performing Arts Theatre is the final piece in a longtime vision to create one centralized location for all of the Creative and Performing Arts programs and stimulate further collaboration between students on cross-departmental projects and performances.
In addition to the new theatre, the college also offers two performance venues: a major production studio with seating for an audience of 225; and an outdoor amphitheater accommodating more than 550.
Construction on the recently completed Center for Creative and Performing Arts Theatre began in October 2013. The facility is an addition to the H2 Building and sits adjacent to the outdoor amphitheater. The total cost of the project was $2.27 million. Mercer Architecture Inc. in High Point designed the theatre.
Growing a Dream, Sharing a Vision
The opening of the Center for Creative and Performing Arts Theatre marks another historical event in GTCC’s long-standing relationship with the City of High Point. In October 1981, GTCC’s High Point Campus opened with two buildings on three acres. The next major expansion for the campus occurred in January 2004 with the opening of the Larry Gatlin School of Entertainment Technology, a $9.25 million facility offering associate degrees in recording engineering, concert sound and lighting, and music business. Since then, GTCC’s Entertainment Technology Program has become a recognized national leader. It is the only program of its kind in the Southeast and serves as a model for other institutions in the country wanting to develop a similar program.
The humble beginnings of the Entertainment Technology program originated in August 2000 with 80 students in the basement of the Business Careers building on the Jamestown Campus. The program’s early facilities included two small recording studios, classrooms and a tiny auditorium with a proscenium stage. Today, 256 students are enrolled in the program.
GTCC produced its first play, “Vanities,” by Jack Heifner in spring 1989 as part of a drama class. That laid the foundation for GTCC’s Theatre Program, which was later housed in the Joseph S. Koury Hospitality Careers Center when the facility opened in 1999. For the next 15 years, GTCC’s Theatre Program would present plays ranging from classic Greek tragedies to modern comedies in the 84-seat fine arts theater. The program has developed a reputation for engaging and inspiring students to become active participants in the theatre arts. Graduates have gone on to careers in every aspect of the theatre profession.
GTCC’s Music Program got its start in fall 1990, with the launch of two music appreciation courses. By 2003, the college began to offer an Associate in Fine Arts degree in music as a transfer program, and Dr. Mark Wheeler developed the curriculum of music courses. The program eventually moved to the High Point Campus as part of the vision for the Center for Creative and Performing Arts. The program currently offers an Associate of Arts degree with a music pathway.
GTCC is committed to developing students and the communities in which those students reside and study. The Center for Creative and Performing Arts is an integral part of that mission. The opening of the new Center for Creative and Performing Arts Theatre will allow GTCC to partner closely with the High Point Theatre, High Point Area Arts Council, High Point Community Theatre and other arts partners in the City of High Point to revitalize and rebrand the south side of High Point.
The arts play a significant role in Guilford County’s economy. The industry generates $118.1 million in total economic activity, according to the 2012 Arts and Economic Prosperity IV study conducted by Americans for the Arts — the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. The industry also supports 4,269 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $78.4 million in household income to local residents, and delivers $11.3 million in local and state government revenue.
— Carla Kucinski/GTCC