UT’s Carousel Theatre to be rebuilt

Sandra ClarkArts 865

UT Knoxville has launched a campaign to replace the Carousel Theatre – a place where actors like Dale Dickey and David Keith got their start.

An architect has not been selected and there is no timeline for construction. “The project is still in the fundraising stage,” said spokesperson Gerhard Schneibel.

UT President Randy Boyd contributed $5 million in honor of his wife, Jenny. Both graduated from UT in 1979. The UT Board of Trustees approved the naming of the Jenny Boyd Carousel Theatre on Friday, May 7.

The capital campaign is co-chaired by Liz Stowers and Lyle Irish. Members include Jan Simek, Margie Nichols and Christian Corts.

“The new Carousel will keep its personality as a small, intimate space,” said Calvin MacLean, theatre department chair.

Schneibel said fundraising has nearly reached the $15 million needed, but an additional $1.5 million is being sought to build out the interior and install technology. Because the Carousel began its life as a tent and was constructed bit by bit over the years, it has numerous idiosyncrasies.

Katherine Stepanek, a third-year master’s student in scenic design, said the much-needed upgrades will help future graduates prepare to work in a professional setting. When she designed the set for last year’s show “Detroit ‘67,” challenges included an uneven floor, blind spots for the audience, and lighting and acoustic problems.


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