Summer Circle Theatre

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The Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters and Department of Theatre have announced the creation of a new home for Summer Circle Theatre (SCT) which produces free plays, musicals and children’s shows for the community each June. The new performance space, which will be located in the courtyard between MSU Auditorium and Kresge Art Center, is expected to open in summer 2014.

SCT will present five plays during June 2014, including a world premiere family-friendly show, “The Summer Circle,” written by the MSU Department of Theatre’s Professor and Head of Acting and Directing Rob Roznowski.

“This new venue puts us more on a regional and national scale. It is a first-class facility where the greater community can enjoy shows, musicals and plays we produce each summer, ”says Department of Theatre Chair Kirk Domer. “With the new upgrades we have made to the space and relocating the venue to the courtyard, we can provide a better and more enjoyable experience for those attending.”

With the new upgrades we have made to the space and relocating the venue to the courtyard, we can provide a better and more enjoyable experience for those attending.

Kirk Domer

The projected $750,000 cost of the new facility continues to be raised through community and private support, with an emphasis on MSU Department of Theatre donations. To date, Domer says they have raised $650,000 of the funds needed. The Friends of Theatre (FOT), a volunteer group supporting the department’s activities—and Summer Circle in particular—has committed to raising $100,000 of the total. In addition, a highly significant contribution was made toward the goal by Dr. Sam and Mary Austin - (Emeritus University Distinguished Professor of Physics, and Emerita Specialist). In fact, in 2011, Sam and Mary suggested to Dr. George Peters, then Chair of the Department, that they would be willing to help fund a new Summer Circle stage. After Kirk Domer became Chair, they, in collaboration with Deb Kinney of Physical Plant investigated several alternative locations. It soon became clear that the Kresge courtyard would be a wonderful site.

“The support we have received financially from the community, alumni, and friends has been tremendous. This type of support reinforces the need for arts and culture in the greater Lansing community. It also shows that ticket holders want us to be here for a long time,” said Professor Domer.

This type of support reinforces the need for arts and culture in the greater Lansing community.

Kirk Domer

Karin A. Wurst, Dean at MSU’s College of Arts & Letters, adds that when not in use by Summer Circle, the area will be available to MSU students as a public presentation space. “This additional performance space will also expand the teaching and learning opportunities for other groups on campus, such as supporting arts and culture marathons, outdoor exhibits, student events and donor events.” Dean Wurst adds that this project “will contribute to the visibility of the arts on campus and add to a vibrant cultural climate, which is increasingly more important for recruitment of faculty and students.

”To assist with raising the remaining funds, the Friends of Theatre will hold a variety of community-centered fundraising activities, including a special campaign kick-off event, the “Setting the Stage” Gala, on May 7, at Fairchild Theatre. Plans call for live entertainment, dinner with wine, a silent auction and more. For information and to purchase tickets for the Gala, call (517) 355-6691.