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Former student helps bring new theatre space to life

The+Henry+Konstantinow+Studio+Theatre+has+a+home+in+FA+118.+This+will+be+home+to+student-run+productions.
The Henry Konstantinow Studio Theatre has a home in FA 118. This will be home to student-run productions.

The Henry Konstantinow Studio Theatre has a home in FA 118. This will be home to student-run productions.

Lizzie Kibler

Lizzie Kibler

The Henry Konstantinow Studio Theatre has a home in FA 118. This will be home to student-run productions.

Maggie Fulmer, Contributor

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Henry Konstantinow was 70 years old when he first started taking theatre classes at NKU. For around 10 years he spent his time in classes learning amongst other students and being involved in the theatre community.

“He and I were very close,” Ken Jones, director of the School of the Arts, explained. “When I was teaching he took every class I taught. Every single one. He even took some of them two or three times because he was at that certain age where NKU let him take classes for free.”

Konstantinow stopped attending NKU classes once he reached his 80s and started living in a nursing home. In 2012 at the age of 91, he passed away.

“We didn’t really know that anything had happened until we found out that Henry had left the theatre department a large gift,” Jones said.

That gift amounted to around $800,000 and has allowed the theatre department to fund four scholarships that will start next year. It has also given them enough funds to redo some of the theatre facilities. The biggest change that happened for the productions that were run through what was formerly known as Studio 307 – an entirely student-run theatre production series.

“We’d been talking about moving those rooms for almost five years,” Jones said. “The third floor is really the art floor and the theatre had its studio up there. It can make a lot of noise and the art classes were always around them trying to work.”

With the funds donated by Konstantinow the theatre was able to move the studios from FAC 307 to FAC 118. The new space will be known as the Henry Konstantinow Studio Theatre and has become the new home for the student-run projects.

The new space is bigger than the previous. There is a permanent place for the lighting console and it now has curtains on tracks so you can open and shut them whenever needed. There is now carpet and an improved backstage area.

“It [backstage] used to just be a curtain that people had to hide behind for the entire show,” Erin Reynolds, one of the student producers and BFA acting major, said. “Now we actually have a door where people can go into a room to sit and wait. It’s really easier to manipulate now.”

Along with the addition of new equipment, improvements have been made with technical aspects as well.

“Our tech booth is so much bigger,” Meredith Russell, student producer and stage manager, said. “It’ll be much easier for me to do my job and for anyone else in tech positions to have that space and not have to worry. The last space was a soft booth and this one is a hard booth so it’ll also be much easier to clean.”

With the move from 307 the student run shows will now be known as the Konstantinow Series. But the project itself remains the same.

“Konstantinow is a student produced, directed, sometimes written and only student performed production,” Alexx Rouse, student producer and BFA playwriting major, said. “It’s our space to play with typically edgier material or pieces that we’ve always wanted to do.”

Students involved in the productions will work within the new Henry Konstantinow Studio Theatre to bring their works to life.

“It’s good to have an experimental space because the basis of art is to experiment,” Rouse said. “It’s cool to be able to make mistakes and be in a place with your peers where you can figure things out together.”

The first production of the year, Circle Mirror Transformation, directed by Erin Reynolds, will run from Nov. 18 – 21. Following that, The Trouble With Boys, written by Alexx Rouse, will run from Nov. 30 – Dec. 3.

The Henry Konstantinow Studio Theatre has a home in FAC 118. This will be home to student-run productions.

Lizzie Kibler
The Henry Konstantinow Studio Theatre has a home in FAC 118. This will be home to student-run productions.

 

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Former student helps bring new theatre space to life