The Arena Theatre is located in 112 Wright Hall. It is a "black box" theatre space, meaning it is painted entirely black (hence, the name) in order to be the most versatile type of indoor performance space, as it is, in essence, an empty room. As a result, The Arena Theatre black box is easily manipulated on a director's whim. Seating configurations are as determined by the director; chairs, bleachers/risers, or even couches or pillows can be arranged around the room to form the audience seating area. A plain arena configuration would mean that seating would be on four sides of the "stage", forming a square in which the actors would perform. In Spring 2005, graduated MFA candidate Hester Chillingworth created such a configuration for her original production entitled Enter Lady Macbeth http://enterladymacbeth.strangegain.com/whatiselm.html. The space for this show was also apportioned so that the audience had to walk through an art gallery before seating themselves; the gallery was structured with flats1 on one side of the square performance area. The space has also served the likes of Grocery Store Romance, an experimental theatre piece created by MFA graduates Dyan McBride and David Beatty, MFA student collaboration "C.O.R.E." (collective organic research experiment, see their website), MFA grad David Beatty's "Stories From My Own Backyard," and student theatre organization Studio 301's production of The Last Five Years. The theatre also serves as an audition space and classroom, with Dramatic Art classes such as Drama 21A, Drama 127A & 127B, some Drama 198 workshops, and puppetry meeting in the location.
1. A flat is constructed either from a wooden frame covered with canvas or a wooden frame covered with a thin wood sheet. It is the material with which set facades are constructed.