Farewell, Performance Space


Mr. Indovina and Mr. Kent say goodbye to the old Performance Space.

It has been ten years since the Performance Space made its debut as the home of Berkeley Carroll performing arts. Over the years, the Performance Space has become a place where Berkeley Carroll has put on plays, concerts, recitals and much, much more. But now, ten years and 56 shows later, we have to say goodbye. The Performance Space has truly had a great run, and it will be terribly missed.

The best way to say goodbye is to look back over its wonderful life. It opened in 2005 with two shows: Cagebird and Blue Hour. Since then, Berkeley Carroll has done two Upper School and two Middle School productions per year (38 all together), nine fourth grade plays, and nine dance concerts. That adds up to a whopping 56 shows! This does not include the many other small concerts, recitals and showcases that have happened over the years. It is where the choir practices, where meetings happen, and where open houses are hosted. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects is that all these things have been done in a relatively small space for a theater. Senior Henry Pearson says that’s one of the things he likes most about it. He says, “I like that it isn’t really a theater, because there’s not really a stage, but every year we’re able to put on a show that looks great, sounds great, and feels great, and I think that’s one of the greatest things about it.”

It’s great to look back on the wonderful memories from the Performance Space. There have been so many memorable shows and amazing sets and props to go with them. Perhaps one that everyone remembers is the Upper School production of Little Shop of Horrors. This show, of course, is famous for the giant man eating plant, which was a prop that had to be made. This sounds like a difficult challenge for anyone, but if anyone could do it, it would be Berkeley Carroll’s Technical Theater Director and set designer, Jim Kent. Over the past 10 years, Mr. Kent has worked tirelessly creating amazing sets and finding perfect props for every show, and making sure everything runs smoothly backstage. Together, with the help of Upper School theater teacher Justin Indovina, almost anything was possible in regards to putting on a great show, even with limited space and actors.

Though saying goodbye can be hard, there is so much to look forward to. The new Performance Space is going to be at Berkeley Carroll’s building on Sterling Place. It will be much bigger than the current space. Mr. Kent was able to tell me a little about what has been going on with the construction of the new space. He said that it will be able to seat around 180 people, with room to add more seats if necessary. It will also have a much bigger stage, including a real backstage, instead of a curtain covering the back wall (like the current space). In addition, there will be a green room (which in the Performance Space is room 223), with a monitor where you can see and hear what’s happening on the stage. There will be new LED lights, which will give us a wider variety of what we can do in terms of lighting design, and a whole new sound system. This new space will be open and ready for use very soon, and the first show we’ll be doing in it is the spring musical, which, this year, is The Music Man, featuring both middle and upper schools.

The Performance Space truly has made an impact on all of us, which is why it will be difficult to leave it. “I am really going to miss seeing all the faculty and students rushing up and down the mains stairs between classes,” says Mr. Kent. “I will miss the random students dropping by the Performance Space to hang or help build and I will really miss helping with science projects. That was always a highlight of the year.” 10th grader Ellie Pike says, “I will miss hearing the sounds from the Performance Space when I’m going to classes or studying. It’s a nice soundtrack to the day.” So whether it’s saying hi to Mr. Kent in the hallway, or listening to students rehearsing as you walk by the door, there will always be something to miss about the Performance Space. And though it will be difficult saying goodbye to the beloved Performance Space, such an integral place to our school, there is so much to look forward to.