A Collaborative Approach to Theatre Education

Nancy Blankfard, AIA, LEED AP BD+C


A few weeks ago, I attended the National Association of Schools of Theatre Conference in Chicago.  While the view of Studio Gang's Aqua Tower and Millennium Park beyond was inspiring, the conversations at the conference kept me inside.

The conference was framed by a keynote presentation by Polly Carl (yes, HGA Design Principal Tim Carl's sister) of Emerson College. She spoke about the Theater Commons she created in HowlRound.  And what is a Commons?  It's a place where every member of an ensemble has something to offer--where a production becomes something greater than the sum of its parts. I think this Commons concept speaks directly to the way we practice architecture at HGA. Our team approach to projects is in direct alignment with the way theatre professionals practice their craft. 

So what are theatre faculty members concerned about and how can we as architects and theatre designers help solve those issues? Here are three topics that should influence our work over the next year: 

  • The