Performance Place Improvements
Performance Place (375 seats in Freedman, 200 in Catawba, and 100 in Patrons) is the university’s largest on-campus performance venue. It hosts hundreds of performances annually that are open to the public – from plays to
musicals to jazz concerts performed by UNCSA students – that reach nearly 50,000 people
annually. In addition, Performance Place also hosts performances from the National
Black Theatre Festival and other arts organizations. The economic impact of having
Performance Place as one of the city’s premier performance venues, and the role of
the facility in the cultural life of Winston-Salem, cannot be underestimated.
At UNCSA, student training culminates on the stage and necessitates audiences at their
performances. How audiences react impacts their learning outcomes. These performance
spaces are not “nice to have”; in our curriculum, they are our classrooms and laboratories.
Student academic evaluations are based largely on performances and productions that
are staged in these facilities. UNCSA offers a range of different types of performance
spaces, so actors and singers and designers and technicians and instrumentalists will
have the experience in the environments they will encounter as professionals. But
the systems in those environments must meet standards of current industry technology
in order for faculty to prepare their students for the real world.
Improvements to Performance Place will consist of a complete theatrical lighting replacement,
including upgrading to the newest generation of dimming systems. Fixed seating and
carpet will also be replaced in the building’s largest theatre, while most door hardware
throughout the facility will be replaced due to extreme wear. The metal roof at the
main lobby and windows also will be replaced. In addition to the theatrical lighting
replacement, emergency egress and exterior lighting will be replaced. Several HVAC
system components, including the boiler, will be replaced or repaired as part of this
Improving these performance spaces also will improve the user experience, which will
attract additional arts patrons and thus benefit students, faculty, and the community.
Renovations to Performance Place will begin as soon as funds are available.
Repurposing the Former Library
The repurposing of UNCSA’s now-vacant former library will reclaim 30,000 square feet
in the heart of campus and will literally transform the school. It will allow the school to serve students and the community better by providing specialized
arts spaces to support new and evolving programs, additional practice and rehearsal
spaces, and general office space.
Plans call for spaces designed for creative incubation, innovation, and collaboration
across disciplines in what will become an arts laboratory.The addition of 21st-century practice and rehearsal studios will support the evolution and prototyping
of breakthrough artistic works to drive the state’s creative economy. The new spaces
will increase student, faculty and alumni opportunities for artistic and entrepreneurial
UNCSA also looks to the renovation to address critical space needs across campus due
to enrollment and program growth. Because of the nature of instruction, which is mentor-mentee, UNCSA is not an institution
slated for substantial enrollment growth. However, the school has added graduate programs
in Film and Design & Production, and has grown community and summer offerings. This
growth has generated needs for specialized arts spaces to support the new programs.
Lack of space is a significant limiting factor in the university’s ability to offer
optimal learning environments for its unique performing arts-based instruction. Limited
practice and rehearsal spaces complicate scheduling and limit learning outcomes.
UNCSA needs to make the best use of the space available not only to achieve the mission
of the university, but also to conduct the business of the university. It’s a constant
struggle to find space for large meetings as well as faculty and staff offices.
The repurposing of the old library will begin when the budget is certified. Designer
selection will take about three months and design, about eight to 10 months. Construction
could start as early as January 2017, with a 14- to 18-month construction period.
The last bond referendum to benefit the UNC system was a $3.1 billion bond package
passed by voters in 2000. The School of the Arts received $42.5 million from that
package. Those projects included a new residential connector for the high school residence
halls, a new film archives building, a new School of Music complex, and a new Welcome