Denison’s performing arts students share their drive to perform—and their hopes for their time in the new Eisner Center.
Over the summer, faculty and staff packed up their offices in Ace Morgan Theatre, Burke Hall, Burton Music Hall, and Doane Dance Building, and regrouped in the new Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts. For a few months, they shared the space with workers who were placing the finishing touches on the building—installing the blue wall graphic, a nod to the Big Blue Tent that housed Denison Summer Theatre all those years ago; moving the 30 pianos (including five Steinways) that now occupy offices and rehearsal spaces; and prepping the board in the green room, which now awaits signatures of the performers and visiting artists who will grace the performance spaces. Some faculty members pulled out new compositions that they were working on and set them upon pianos in their offices. Some pulled off their shoes and stepped onto the heated floors in Thorsen Dance Studio. Some stepped onto the stage in Sharon Martin Hall, looked out at the empty seats, and dreamed of the possibilities. For the first time in Denison’s history, all three performing arts departments were under one roof. They settled in, got to work, and awaited the students’ return this fall, which launched the inaugural year of teaching, learning, practice, and performance in the building that was years in the making.
On the following pages, we hear from a few of the first students who will breathe life into the Eisner Center—named for Michael Eisner ’64, Denison life trustee, former chairman and CEO of Disney, and founder of the Tornante Company—as they set the stage for generations to come.