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Brenau’s ‘Art of Theatre’ highlights the creative efforts that happen backstage

POSTED: January 24, 2013 1:30 a.m.

In a behind-the-scenes look at theatrical productions, Brenau University presents a special exhibition titled "The Art of Theatre." The exhibit will run through Sunday, March 31 in the President’s Gallery of the Simmons Visual Arts Center on the historic Gainesville campus.

A reception for the event is set for 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31 in the gallery.

Both the exhibition and the reception are free and open to the public.

The show focuses on the work of costume, lighting, scene and sound designers whose work gives audiences a sense of place and a sensory experience in the theater. The Brenau University Theatre Department, Gainesville Theatre Alliance and other professionals have donated pieces for the exhibit, including costume sketches, lighting and scene renderings.

"We do so many productions here on campus with our joint program and the audience is aware of the scenery and atmosphere, but they don’t know what goes on to get us to that point," said Fred Lloyd, professor of technical theater at Brenau and co-curator of the exhibit. "This exhibit is all about the hard work done by the designers and technicians to get us to the magical point where the curtain goes up and the show begins."

Lori Gann-Smith, the fashion design program director at Brenau who also has experience in theater as a costume designer, is also a co-curator of the show. "The Art of the Theatre," she said, provides a glimpse into places audience members seldom go.

"The exhibit focuses on the hard work and collaboration of the designers responsible for bringing the director and playwright’s vision to life," she said.

Brenau’s theater program has strong bachelor of fine arts in Design and Technology for Theatre, Lloyd said. A number of graduates from the program currently work at many theaters across the country, he said.

Although not a graduate of the program, Janie Bryant, the Emmy Award-winning costume designer for the HBO series "Deadwood" and a perennial nominee for her work on the top AMC show "Mad Men," graduated from Brenau Academy and studied briefly as an undergraduate at Brenau Women’s College.

Some of the work in the show was created by Brenau students like Emily Fauscett, a 2012 alumna whose wardrobe design for the Gainesville Theatre Alliance’s production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" last spring will be on display.

"Each of the designers create work that are incredible pieces of art in their own right, that leads to the final piece of theater," Lloyd said. "We want to showcase the art that we do in the dark, bring some of it to light and let the world experience it."

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Call 770-534-6263 for more details.


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