This past September New College welcomed alum Monica Cross (’06) as the new technical director of the black box theater (BBT). This is a new position that marks the first time that there will be someone dedicated to the theater for an entire year. Cross will be responsible for caring for the space, overseeing the technical side of productions and scheduling space reservations.
” I am a little bit of everything right now. My job primarily at the moment is about getting this space up and running as efficiently as possible,” Cross said. Cross repainted the floors over fall break and hopes to get the walls repainted in December as well as have the curtains cleaned and re-hung – something that has not happened since the theater was first opened.
“The curtains were also hung at the wrong height,” Cross said, “so I’m currently in the process of re-hemming them all.” Cross received her Masters of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College with a focus in costume design. After graduating, she spent the following year working as the playhouse manager at the American Shakespeare Center.
Cross, who graduated from New College in 2010 after studying English, was impressed with the developments that theatre on campus has made in the past few years. When Cross was a student the black box theater did not even exist. “I remember it as the fishbowl,” she said.
“When I was a student here there was Acting I, and then that was really it,” Cross said. Cross is teaching a production course this module that will provide an introduction to stage management and set design, as well as costume and prop design.
“I love working with students, I just love the creativity, particularly with New College students,” she said.
With the creation the technical director position the BBT moved from a Student Affairs controlled space to a Humanities controlled space.
“This makes the department responsible for the building and there is hope that in the future there will be more financial support to go along with that,” Cross said. “This is still a space for the students though. Student groups all can use this space and make this space their home.”
“This space is so versatile. It has so much going for it. My goal is to get it working to its fullest potential,” Cross continued. “What we have is great but we also have a lot of little gaps so a big part of my job is to find the gaps and begin filling those in.”
Cross said that she is excited to work on projects with students and hopes that she will be able to connect students with each other for performances.
This week the black box will be host to Stage Fright, a series of spooky one-act plays, and in the months coming up both on and off campus productions will be being performed in the space.