Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Panel Discussion

Last night I was in the McKinney Arts Center for a panel discussion on technical theater.  Talking to a group of  mostly teen-aged theater enthusiasts, the aim was to make sure they knew that Acting was not the only way - or the "best" way - to do theater.  That the tech world has at least as much importance and, well, fun, as the acting world.

Certainly the discussion was fun.  We all talked in a lively back-and-forth way - with a jump start from some well thought-out questions from both the moderator and the audience.  Afterwards we talked with those folks with particular interest or questions.  I took a couple models and others brought drawings which we showed to those interested after the talk.  I showed off Alice.  Met some really nice, and interested folks.

The we got a tour of the building.  The Arts Center was originally the county courthouse built, I'd guess, in the late 1800s as a Victorian French pile (mansard roofs etc.), remodeled in the 1920s (scrape off the mansards!), then empty for decades before being refreshed in the late 1990s or thereabouts.  Now the old courtroom on the second floor, with its original wood witness and jury boxes etc, is still an occasional night court, but there is also a stage (quite high, it fits over some of those boxes) which is home to a orchestra and to theater productions, who all have to get out of each others' way.  A challenging venue!  But a fascinating historic room with some interesting detail - including a U shaped balcony and some handsome plaster work.

In this photo, the old mansards came to the horizontal stone string course just below the parapet - which was added in the '20s (the brick doesn't quite match).
McKinney Arts Center image courtesy of Scrappin' Bunnies / Young Actors Guild

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