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A building that is much longer than it is tall has a facade with two levels of windows and warm colored brick. It looks modern and ready for great things to come from within. Two students cross the street toward the building. A building that is much longer than it is tall has a facade with two levels of windows and warm colored brick. It looks modern and ready for great things to come from within. Two students cross the street toward the building.
Campus & Community

Nods to Drake Union live on in new theatre building

Students and teachers in the Department of Theatre, Film and Media Arts will learn and work next to reminders of a strong legacy.

Our branded ghost light

In the theatre world, a ghost light is placed downstage center, illuminating the space when not in use and preventing anyone entering an otherwise dark room from injuring themselves. Superstition holds that the light is there to ward off the ghosts who have come to live in the theatre over the years. The metal frame of Ohio State’s ghost light spells “OSU.”

A crowd of teachers and students, many carrying umbrellas, accompany a rolling cart with a large metal OSU sculpture (those letters are stacked on top of each other) with a light bulb at top — a ghost light. As it rains, the people pass by university buildings in an informal parade.

Members of Ohio State’s theatre family cross campus one rainy April day to escort the ghost light from the Drake Performance and Event Center to its new home. (Photo by Andy Gottesman)

A gray mannequin wears a big hat with profuse feather cluster trailing to its waist; an old-fashioned, geometric-patterned coat that hangs to mid-shin; a lacy jabot; and jeans and old converse. The effect is a college student dressed for a play, perhaps something from Shakespeare.

Creations for characters

Adorned in an elegant hat, shirt and jacket, a mannequin stands in the new costume studio. Here, visitors can watch students working at sewing machines, cutting tables, a dye vat and other fixtures of the bright space — an upgrade from Drake’s windowless lower level. Across the hall are 5,000 pieces of clothing, the culled costume inventory that made the move. Last spring, the department invited area high school and theatre reps to browse through and choose pieces from the rest. (Photo by Betsy Becker)

A framed piece of art has a mat with a section torn out of the middle. The missing space shows what is underneath: layers of flat set pieces from a play, including flower-patterned wallpapers, torn mats the color of the sky, and embellishments that form both straight and curved lines.

From Thurber’s finale

Materials from the set of “The Country Wife,”  the last play in Drake’s Thurber Theatre, make up this piece on the second floor of the new building. It was created by Carrie Gillen, an artist who worked in set design and theatre production in her first few years out of grad school. Staged in 2022, “The Country Wife” was directed by Associate Professor Tom Dugdale and Professor and Chair E.J. Westlake, with scenic design by Jessica Hughes ’21 MFA. Written by William Wycherley and first produced in 1675, the play spent nearly 200 years banned from stage and print because of its risqué language and scandalous storyline. (Photo by Jodi Miller)

A framed piece of fabric, which looks as if the center was tied into a knot and then the whole piece flipped, represents the colors of costumes from a 2021 play. They are both warm and cool colors; orange shades and light blue stand out.

The colors of resilience

This ruched fabric piece, also created by Gillen, captures the color palette of the costumes in “The Seagull” (2021), the department’s first post-pandemic live production. It was staged in the Roy Bowen Theatre and directed by Cormier, adjunct assistant professor and external relations coordinator, with costume design by Professor Emerita Kristine Kearney. The colors were inspired by stormy skies over a lake in upstate New York, the setting for this adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s dark comedy about desire, ambition, creativity and family. (Photo by Jodi Miller)

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