Black box theater making progress

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The sounds of hammers, saws and nail guns will soon be heard on South Center Street in downtown Mount Olive. It will be the cacophony of progress as the University of Mount Olive begins renovating the former Glenn-Martin Drug Store into a black box theater.

Phase one of the construction includes a total overhaul of the ground floor to establish performance space, set and prop storage, dressing rooms and restrooms. The project will encompass about 4,000 square feet of the building’s 6,785 square feet footprint.

Expected to be completed in the fall semester, the black box theater will enrich UMO’s growing theater program. It is also anticipated that the revitalized space will increase traffic and visibility to the downtown Mount Olive area, further enhancing the town and gown relationship between the university and the town of Mount Olive.

“This project will ensure that the town of Mount Olive and the surrounding region will have the opportunity to experience a growing and expanding arts program that revitalizes the human spirit,” said UMO President David Poole.

UMO’s theater program attracts students from many disciplines that utilize their artistic skills and talents for at least two drama performances each academic year. Proposed uses for the new space include theatrical, dance and musical classes, performances, social gatherings, summer camps, movie showings, art shows and more.

Theater Director John Clifton says he feels the building will not only be inviting for audience members, it will also provide an architectural and visual component that will add a sense of enchantment to any production.

“I am excited about the potential for showcasing the talents of our students, and allowing them to gain hands-on experience working in a flexible and theatrically intimate performing space,” Clifton said.

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