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By Nathan Brantingham and Dana Cadey

The McVay Center for Performing Arts is officially opening this Friday night, October 18, with a collaborative performance titled “Retrospective and Renaissance.” The show features the students and faculty of the performing arts disciplines at Principia College, including choir, dance, theatre, and orchestra. 

McVay, the lofty building between the Science Center and Hay Field House, was once Morey Field House, which used to hold campus events like Homecoming dances and fashion shows. Its new design, which was paid for through a fundraising effort that reached $9 million dollars, has helped the building has become the new home of the Principia performing arts departments. 

The Robert Duvall Theatre, named after the famous actor and Principia graduate, provides students and faculty with a much-needed, revamped performance space. The theatre fits 325 seats, which places it between the Davis Black Box Theatre and Cox Auditorium in terms of the number of audience members that can attend.

“We needed something in that mid-range so that music, dance, and theatre could have a home,” said Sue Ellen Coughtry, Director of Capital Giving.

Made specifically to serve as a performance hall, the McVay Center has more room in the wings of the stage as well as a pit for the orchestra. Gone are the days of plays performed in Cox Auditorium ⁠— a space designed for speeches and addresses to the student body, not the performing arts. Principia’s talented performers now have the space that they deserve to share their craft with the rest of the campus. 

Tickets for the production are currently sold out on Marketplace, but the Pilot will be covering the performances in detail for anyone who cannot attend them in person. Tonight’s dress rehearsal, beginning at 7:30 p.m., is open to all students.

This new building is a memorial to Principia’s performing arts department and the highly-committed student artists that Principia teaches. Look for a list of these successful graduates on our website tomorrow.