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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Andreas Theatre Gets New Floor

New surface to be completed this week.

2012-07-30
Tanner Kent, Mankato Free Press, 7-29-2012

The flooring at Minnesota State University’s Andreas Theater was never meant for such abuse.

It was never meant to be set on fire. It was never meant to hold a 12,000-gallon swimming pool. It was never meant for constant beating, hammering and painting.

Thought it held up admirably for more than a decade, Andreas’ worn and weary flooring is — gratefully — being replaced this summer.

“ We’re thrilled,” said Paul Hustoles, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “By the end of July, we’ll have a brand­new floor — all ready for us to destroy again.”

The $3.4 million black box theatre was completed in 2000.

Since then it has become a versatile space for the department.

During the school year, it hosts two mainstage productions as well as the entire studio season, which consists of four plays. Add in two more Highland Summer Theatre productions and that means Andreas hosts eight plays a year.

And that’s before you consider the regular lineup of acting and technical courses that takes place within its confines.

Even preparing for the $30,000 floor replacement was a challenge.

Due to tightly scheduled summer performances, the theatre depart­ment’s set crew had only a few days to clear out the theatre in advance of the July 16 start date.

“ We use it all the time for construction,” Hustoles said.

And it’s taken more than its share of abuse.

For starters, the floor was actually meant for dance. Planners originally conceived Andreas as the primary dance space; as such, builders installed a “sprung” floor that “ would have been great for dance, but is terrible for scenery,” said George Grubb, technical director for the theatre department.

Grubb estimates the floor has been painted at least 80 times in 10 years — each coat simply applied over the last. For every set, pieces needed to be nailed, screwed and fastened into place, leav­ing the floor pocked with holes and blemishes.

For the 2001 production of “Medea,” one scene included the floor being lit on fire.

For the 2004 production of “ Metamorphoses,” designers built a massive, 12,000- gallon swimming pool in the theatre.

Before construction began, the department consulted with a structural engineer who advised that the floor wasn’t strong enough to hold. Grubb and his technical crew had to brace the floor from underneath with large, wooden posts.

“ That floor has been through a lot,” Grubb said. Hustoles said the department learned its lesson with the larger Ted Paul Theatre several years ago.

Constructed in 1967 along with the rest of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, the Ted Paul Theatre went more than 30 years without a stage floor replacement.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories on-line at www.mankatofreepress.com.

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