A Look Into the New Addition

Drama director discusses the new Flex Theater

Sofia Hughes, Staff Writer

Thanks to the 2020 bond funds, Blue Valley High has just finished the construction of a performing arts space: the flex theater. This space consists of new dressing rooms, new set construction and storage, an all-new lightboard and soundboard, and, of course, a brand-new theater. Director Jeff Yarnell is particularly pleased about the new space, as it will ease the stress on space used in the department. 

“[We’ve] got a couple of shows happening every month, and when you’ve got that, you end up having to use the black box and the PAC. Those shows are happening, but the other ones are getting ready, so there are always about four shows going on,” Yarnell said. “The need for a lot of spaces is really paramount for us.”

The flex theater is not only a space for theater, it’s available to be used by all departments in need of more space, especially during the school day. 

“From what they have decided right now, they don’t see themselves doing many performances. It will really just be a place for band, when they need five spaces, to be one of the five spaces. And earlier today I did see choir in there, learning a dance; I think the fact it’s got one mirrored wall is something they’ll want to take advantage sometimes in class,” Yarnell said. “But those spaces aren’t really going to work so well for them for performances.”

The need for a new theater space also stems from the unconventional theater spaces the school currently uses. Currently, shows are performed in the PAC or the Black Box, a space used as both a theater for smaller shows and for classes during the school day. The current black box used to be a classroom, so the low ceilings don’t allow for shows to be lit properly due to the angle of the lights. 

The new theater comes with a new setup.

“The flex theater has the ability to run sound and lights from the second story,” Yarnell said. “It also has a lot of ability — speaking of the second story — for us to be able to access lights in a different way instead of having to be on a ladder for everything.”  

Another problem with the current black box is its capacity. 

“The black box, in a best case, can hold 200 people, but usually it’s more like 100 to 140, and the PAC is about 600,” Yarnell said. “If you’re doing a show for 250 people, it’s too many to put in the black box. It still feels half-empty when you’re doing it in the PAC.”

The size of the flex theater splits the difference.

“It gives you the ability to put a lot of people in at the same time,” Yarnell said. “[But it also] gives you the intimate feeling of a smaller theater.”