Weitz Center for Creativity Theater Update

Weitz Center Theatre

Passing by Carleton’s Arena Theatre this Fall, you can see the beginnings of demolition. 

“Arena in some ways was a spectacular theater. But it was not up to code and it was not handicap accessible. The technology was dated and difficult,” says Ruth Weiner, Class of 1944 Professor of Theater and the Liberal Arts.

Arena began to show structural issues almost immediately after its groundbreaking in 1969. Problems cited included leaky underground practice rooms and an unstable roof that required curtains to be hung from the catwalks rather than the ceiling itself.

“We designed the Weitz Center to rectify the problems that arena had, but it has its own. Storage is going to be a problem. Space is tight, and we’re not sure where we’re going to put everything yet. We have a process of discovery of all of its kinks and peculiarities.”

A cast list has recently been released for a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, directed by Carleton alum and Juilliard faculty member Ed Berkely ’66. The production will run from October 27 – 30, following a pre-performance opening celebration in the theatre on October 27.

“Everyone is immensely excited," Weiner said. "We have a terrific guest director, a huge cast, and a member of the art department with a class designing it. The Tempest will use projections. We will have the opportunity with the help of the CAMS department of making that a real functional part of the production.”

The theater features 250 movable seats, which allows the space to be reconfigured into whatever formation a production requires. Other facilities include a costume workshop, set design shop, prop storage, laundry, theater box office, rehearsal space, green room and dressing rooms. 

“The Weitz Center Theatre is essentially a big empty space. The seating arrangements are flexible. There are a variety of kinds and sophistications of technology that are possible. While the space is simple, its simplicity is very adaptable to whatever kind of performance you want.”

“I’ve already seen Northfield people in here, and I hope more come!”