CSU Voices and Views

Full of Possibility

Photos and captions by Erik Fallis,
Edwin Lockwood and CSU Fullerton

Vaughncille Joseph Meng Concert Hall

“I love empty theatres because they are so full of possibility,” said Joseph Arnold, dean of the College of Arts at CSU Fullerton.

The entire world may be a stage.  However, many actors, musicians, dancers, directors and designers experience moments when other considerations fall away and the stage becomes their whole world.  Those moments leave a lasting impression, something Arnold reflects on as he leads a tour through the CSUF Clayes Performing Arts Center.

Opened in 2006, the Clayes Center adds a combined 1,200 seats for performance venues in the James D. Young Studio Theatre, Hallberg Theatre and Vaughncille Joseph Meng Concert Hall (above).  This is in addition to the 500 seats in the “Little” Theatre as well as dance and musical theatre studios.  The center also includes dedicated spaces for set design, costume and makeup.

Arnold in the James D. Young Studio Theatre

Ever the “working dean,” Arnold continues to direct productions of students and faculty.  Asked to do the equivalent of picking his favorite child, Arnold admits his preferred space is the Young Theatre with its thrust design that brings a unique closeness between the performer and audience.  The venue is named for the founding chair of the Theatre and Dance Department who remains active on campus.

An angel floats above the stage during a performance of A Prayer for Owen Meany

A performance of A Prayer for Owen Meany brings the intimate setting of the 250-seat Young Theatre to life.  The option of three different theatre styles (thrust, in-the-round and proscenium) in the Clayes Center allows students to explore different blocking and to understand what the space demands of an actor.  This underscores the Clayes’ primary function as an academic facility.

Arnold reflected in a mirror of the makeup lab.  A student working with fabrics in the costume shop.

Arnold shows the behind-the-scenes spaces often hidden from the audience.  Masks from various performances line the expansive makeup lab (left).  Adjacent to the makeup lab is a costume shop (right) saturated in natural light to give the fabrics their true color.

Students and faculty create the amazing settings for performances in the Clayes Center.  Freshman Analisa Peters and sophomore Anna Barajas work in the Scenic Lab.  Both theatre arts majors are pursuing a design/technical production emphasis.

Three male dancers mid-leap.

Dancers have an extra spring to their step in the Clayes Center.  The floors of dance studios absorb some of the shock of landing jumps, preserving feet and joints.  The new spaces also have higher ceilings, allowing dancers to practice and perform lifts and other aerial techniques.

Arnold looks toward the stage over the floor seating of the Meng Concert Hall.

The diva of the Clayes Center is the 800-seat Meng Concert Hall.  The hall boasts outstanding acoustics optimized to give the audience the experience of unobstructed sound.  The entire hall can be “tuned” using ceiling mounts and wall panels.  The distinctive cones bounce the sound as waves pass through the hall.  The grand hall also features a grand instrument — a historic organ tied to famous organist E. Power Biggs.

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  • Nancee Steiger

    Hello, I will be taking a campus tour on March 29th at 3:00. I am a junior at Centennial High School in Bakersfield and am extremely interested the theatre arts/musical theatre program. I would like to take a tour and learn more about your program.

    Thank You,
    Nancee Steiger

  • Mercadez Brito

    I am a freshman at Vista Del Lago High School, and i am really interested in dancing. I would like to take a tour around and see how it is.
    Thank You,
    Mercadez Brito

  • Shaela Rogers

    Hello, I will be touring the campus Thursday, June 19th at 10am. I am considering enrolling as a musical theatre major and I’m interested in touring the performing arts facilities while there touring the campus.

    Thank you,
    Shaela Rogers

  • shannon rowley

    I will be taking campus tour at 3:00 pm on Friday August 30th. I would love to add a tour of the dance and theater department along with a tour of theater. I am interested as a dance/theater major.

  • Donna

    Trying to contact the ticket office to verify that my tickets are there for tomorrow nights performance. Could not find a phone number. Thank you

  • Vanessa Romin

    Would like some information regarding your dance program mailed to me please. Thank you.

  • Erik Fallis

    Hello Venessa,

    Please email efallis@calstate.edu and I can get your information to the right person.

    Thanks, Erik

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