As we ready ourselves for another year of programming at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, it is a good time to look back on some of the exciting developments over the past few months that demonstrate a new priority of the arts on campus. I could (and probably should!) use this space to talk about all of the great artists and events coming to the Center in the next few months but instead, I want to pause to reflect on this moment for the arts at Notre Dame:
- In 2018, the O’Neill Hall of Music opened its doors as the new home for both the Department of Music and the Program in Sacred Music. Students and faculty in these fields now have access to state-of-the-art rehearsal spaces, lecture halls, and seminar rooms as well as the convenience of the music library now housed within O’Neill Hall. Even more exciting are the two concert venues now open within the building. The 175-seat LaBar Recital Hall serves as an ideal space for chamber music performance and the interdisciplinary LaBar Performance Hall features a flexible layout (comparable to the Philbin Studio Theatre) to encourage more experimental performance. These venues are now open for the public and recently featured recitals by Nathan Gunn and Roomful of Teeth.
- The Department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the Department of Music have come together to launch a new minor in musical theatre at Notre Dame. While the minor officially went into effect at the start of the Fall 2018 semester, there have already been several opportunities to explore this immensely popular art form on campus. FTT capped its last season with an outstanding performance of Spring Awakening, which included a campus visit by composer Duncan Sheik. OperaND is currently in the planning stages for its Spring 2019 production of The Pirates of Penzance. At DPAC, we have hosted performances by Broadway legends Patti LuPone and Kristin Chenoweth this past year, each of whom graciously invited Notre Dame students to perform on stage with them.
- Each year the President’s Office presents the Notre Dame Forum, a program of events built around a key issue in society (education, immigration, sustainability). This year, the ND Forum has directed its focus to the Catholic artistic heritage. Writers, scholars, and artists have come to the university this past semester to discuss literature, theatre, music, and film as they relate to the Catholic social tradition. A highlight of the program for us was the recent visit to campus by German director Wim Wenders. A key figure of the New German Cinema, Wenders introduced a screening of his most recent film, Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, in the Leighton Concert Hall followed by a panel discussion with Notre Dame faculty and students.
When I first arrived at Notre Dame in 2010, I was struck by the university’s commitment to the arts as demonstrated by the distinct quality of the venues on campus that I now manage. To me, this spoke volumes about the university’s investment in the arts. This surge of initiatives, as well as the opening of the new School of Architecture building and recent announcements about the construction of a new museum building, show how the university is taking the lead in arts education and exhibition. As our DPAC neighborhood transforms into a true campus arts district, we are invigorated by our role as arts leaders on campus. It’s all coming together at just the right time for the arts at Notre Dame!
Ted Barron is executive director of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and Judd and Mary Lou Leighton Director of the Performing Arts. Barron previously served as senior associate director overseeing the center’s cinema program during which time he led visits to Notre Dame by renowned filmmakers such as Claire Denis, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Larry Karaszewski, Margarethe von Trotta, Benny Safdie, Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. Barron also teaches courses on global cinema history, documentary film and German film in Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre. Read more