The Robsham Theater Arts Center (RTAC) is the first permanent home designed for theater production at Boston College. Built in 1981, the facility houses a 591 seat main theater, a large lobby and exhibit space, a black box studio theater, a green room, scenery and costume shops, dressing rooms, a design classroom, box office, and faculty and staff offices.
The main theater is a traditional proscenium house with limited thrust capabilities. It seats 591 and is fully handicapped accessible. Designed specifically for educational theater, it includes a completely equipped stage house with fly gallery, an orchestra pit for some twenty musicians, adequate wing and backstage space, and state of the art lighting and sound systems.
The building also includes a flexible black box Bonn Studio Theater that will seat 150 - 200. The Bonn Studio is used for Theatre Department workshop productions, as well as a laboratory for dance and theater classes. The academic Theatre Department is in residence at the RTAC, as is the Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble.
The Robsham Theater Arts Center and the academic Theatre Department combine their efforts to present four faculty/guest directed and two student directed productions each academic year.
The mission of the Robsham Theater Arts Center is to be a facility for the use of the University community that is specifically intended for the presentation of the performing arts. The Robsham Theater Arts Center is a department within the Division of Student Affairs and a partner with the academic Theatre Department for the production of dramatic arts programming for the benefit of the University community and as an educative experience for students majoring in theater at Boston College.
Brighton Dance Studio
E. Paul Robsham, Jr. Theater Arts Center
The Brighton Dance Studio (BDS) opened September 2007. It is the first space on campus devoted to dance and dancers at Boston College. The studio includes a large dance floor and two smaller spaces. The large studio is complete with mirrors, sound system, and ballet bares. It is a ten-minute walk from the Robsham Theater Arts Center.
The studio is part of the Robsham Theater Arts Center and managed by Shep Barnett, Associate Director of the Robsham Theater.
The Robsham Theater opened in 1981 with the gala production of Camelot with the well know star of films and theater, Gordon MacRae. Dr. J. Paul Marcoux and Rev. Joe Larkin, SJ were able to see the realization of their dreams, after many years of presenting plays in a variety of campus locations none of which remotely resembled a theater, they now had a beautiful state of the arts theater facility for their use. RTAC staff is proud of the facility and the level of professional services offered. Over the years, there have been many changes to the RTAC, such as adding a permanent location for the box office to sell tickets for Theatre shows as well as for all student events, updates to the sound and lighting system, and the addition of the Brighton Dance Studio, and many more. The Robsham Theater continues to honor the memory of E. Paul Robsham, Jr. who was a student at Boston College around the time the theater was built.
Robsham Theater Arts Center
140 Commonwealth Ave
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3815
Phone: (617) 552-4800
Fax: (617) 552-2740
Dr. Howard Enoch
Director Lecturer in Lighting and Theatre Management, BA University of Kentucky, MFA Boston University, Ph.D. Boston College
Associate Director, Robsham Theater Arts Center
Lecturer in Technical Theatre and Laboratory Associate, BA Tufts University, MA Emerson College.
Box Office Manager
Marketing & Operations
Boston, MA (February 2, 2011)—Boston College’s Robsham Theater Arts Center recently underwent a system overhaul that involved JBL’s new VerTec subcompact line array elements. The system is one of the first to use JBL VerTec VT4886 subcompact line array elements, with 12 VT4886 loudspeakers forming a single, center array supplemented by two JBL VPSB7118DP 18-inch powered subwoofers suspended directly behind the array, with six additional AC15 speakers along the lip of the stage. The system is driven with Crown Audio I-Tech HD amplifiers and BSS Audio Soundweb processing. System management is handled via the Harman HiQnet System Architect communication protocol and software for remote control and monitoring. SIA Acoustics of New York served as the system design consultant, with Boston Light and Sound performing the installation. “The project started because the original sound system had become outdated,” said Adam Shulman of SIA. “However, after looking at the venue and its current and future needs, we realized there were some additional requirements—the project needed to encompass not only the PA but the media infrastructure as well. The RTAC is also a teaching facility, so it is critical that the students are able to access and use the equipment in a way that’s reflective of how things are done in the real world. As a result, the theater’s patchbays, racks and cabling were alsosubstantially overhauled.”
“The system needed to provide even coverage, support the spoken word very well and provide moderate to high SPL for more dynamic productions,” stated George Cooke of the Robsham Theater Arts Center. “I suggested going with a line array system because it would perform well in the space, and give students the opportunity to work with an industry-standard loudspeaker configuration.” Shulman continued, “We looked at the JBL VT4886 and found a number of compelling features that made it very suitable for this project. The product performs as well off-axis as well as it does on-axis—often, loudspeakers will be fine on-axis but compromise off-axis performance. And vertical dispersion is where the rubber meets the road. If a single element performs badly in this regard, the issue is severely compounded when you stack the elements in a line array. Throw, consistency, coverage—all of these commonly used metrics are the result of directivity. Many speakers fall apart off-axis, horizontally or vertically [especially important in vertical arrays]. The VT4886 combines good off-axis response, compact size and proportionally high output, and these were the primary factors in selecting it here.”
The loudspeakers were placed in an unusual configuration—the main loudspeaker system encompasses 12 VT4886 loudspeakers in a single line array above the stage. “As it turned out, the excellent horizontal coverage of the VT4886 loudspeakers enabled us to place them in a single 12-box array exterior to the catwalk area,” Cooke noted. “Although most installations would place arrays on both sides of the stage, we ran an acoustical analysis and determined that a mono cluster would work wonderfully in the Robsham Theater. This is unusual, but we didn’t need a stereo image, and
we get real 120-degree coverage out of the VT4886 loudspeakers.”
The mission of the E. Paul Robsham, Jr. Theater Arts Center, a Division of Student Affairs, is to facilitate the learning and formation of our students. The Robsham Theater Arts Center is the primary facility for the University Community to use for artistic, cultural and lecture presentations. We believe the arts to be a crucial element of educating the whole student in the Jesuit and Catholic mission for higher education.
The E. Paul Robsham, Jr. Theater Arts Center, RTAC, as the facility is known to the general public is a nexus for learning and formation at Boston College. RTAC provides an open accepting diverse environment for students, in particular, and the University Community as a whole to present differing views and ideas while engaging in meaningful discussion.
In harmony with the Jesuit Catholic tradition of Boston College, the E. Paul Robsham, Jr. Theater Arts Center instructs and guides students in the presentation of their art, their cultures and their ideas to a broad audience in a professional manner. In doing so, RTAC encourages student learning and formation in a respectful sharing of these endeavors while enhancing skills they will use throughout their lives.
The E. Paul Robsham, Jr. Theater Arts Center enhances classroom learning by teaching students the common workplace practices they will need to work meaningfully in their professional careers. RTAC is an environment in which students will grow intellectually and spiritually by participating in the presentation and observation of new ideas.
PROVIDE AN ENVIRONMENT OF INCLUSIVENESS WHICH VALUES DIVERSITY
1.Provide a safe place where students are allowed to express their artistic abilities.
2.Provide opportunities of involvement in many areas of artistic production.
3.Set specific goals and strategies as an outreach to underrepresented student groups.
ALTER PERCEPTIONS AS TO WHAT THE ARTS HAVE TO OFFER REGARDING STUDENT FORMATION
1.Developing the student body on the nuances of event production.
2.Development of students in all aspects of event production to include; production management, stage management, scene building, costume shop design, marketing events, and ticket sales.
3.Technical development with regard to lighting and sound management.
4.Post-mortem event production assessment and reflection.
TO ENCOURAGE BROAD STUDENT ENGAGEMENT FOR THE UNIVERSITY AS A WHOLE
1.Create and sustain partnerships that support student learning, especially with Academic Affairs and the Division of Mission and Ministry.
2.Provide student support to improve readiness to learn and identify and remove barriers to learning.
PROVIDE AN ENVIRONMENT OF REAL LIFE BUSINESS EXPERIENCE
1. Create and sustain business ethics regarding box office ticket sales.
2. Post-mortem event reflections based on real numbers of tickets sales.