More to the Darte than meets the eye


Many students may not realize the full extent of what “The Darte” has to offer.

James Daly, Correspondent

Theatre Arts majors have multiple classes there, some students may have one class there, but many students never even see what facilities the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts has to offer.

The DDD, or “The Darte,” as most students call it, is home to Theatre Arts majors and Dance and Music minors. One wing holds classrooms and lockers for odds-and-end courses, but there is more to this building than many people realize.

Gies Hall is a wing of the Darte for Music minors. This is a two-story wing where the ensembles practice throughout the semester to get ready for their concerts. It is generally open when rehearsals are not in progress. Though most of the building is lined with lockers for students, the hallway outside of Gies is lined with special lockers large enough to hold most any instrument.

Outside of Gies Hall, in the basement, sit six practice rooms, each with pianos. These are available to anyone who wishes to privately express themselves through music. Keys are available in the Darte Main Office for sign out for the whole semester.

Across the hall from Gies is one of two dance studios, the other of which is on the first floor. Different classes from tap and jazz to ballet all take place here. These studios also hold dance lessons for the public at night throughout the week.

Another wing, also in the basement, holds Wilkes University’s “black box theater.” This is a small performance room where senior students present their capstones. Acting classes are also held here. It holds its own backstage dressing area and a stage management booth and can seat up to 60 people.

In the same hallway as the black box, the Theatre Arts department has five dressing rooms, each with space for four people, a costume shop full of old costumes and materials to make new ones, and a storage area for set pieces.

In the storage area, doors lead to a rising hydraulic orchestra pit platform. The platform can be used to bring set pieces and props to the stage of the Darling Theatre on the first floor. This theater can seat 478 people and the stage contains three trap doors.

The stage has a large wood shop to its left. This is where most of the sets are designed and built. The room holds separate storage rooms for platforms, chairs and stools, power tools, and electrical equipment.  There is also a paint well and a frame. These are used for painting large scenic designs efficiently.

To the right of the stage holds its very own 36-line fly system for raising and lowering lights, set-pieces and curtains. This system goes up two stories where it has adjustable weighting and a passage to the theatre’s two sectioned slots. Slots are essential for many theaters because they provide the stage with frontal lighting.