Quirk-Sponberg Theatre, previously Quirk Theatre, was built in 1958 and renovated to add Sponberg Theatre in 1985. Named after Daniel L. Quirk Jr. and Harold Sponberg, respectively, Quirk-Sponberg holds Communication, Fine Arts and Theatre programs for EMU.
To enhance viewers' enjoyment of EMU productions, the School of Communication, Media & Theatre Arts (CMTA) decided it's time to install new seats in both Quirk and Sponberg theatres. Their goal, through the S.I.T. (Seats in Theaters) Campaign, is to raise a minimum of $200,000 before the end of August 2020.
Any monetary donation will be accepted and appreciated. However, with a donation of $500, donors will have the opportunity to personalize a nameplate on one seat's armrest. According to the donation site, these nameplates can be personalized in a number of ways such as "for yourself; to celebrate your student; to memorialize a loved one; to honor the legacy of a mentor/professor; or even in the name of a group, organization or company."
The School of CMTA's Director, Kathleen Stacey, believes there is a crucial need for new seats.
"They are the original seats from when the theatres were first built," Stacey explained. "Quirk Theatre had its first performances in 1959 so the seats are 60 years old. Sponberg Theatre had its first performances in 1986, so those seats are over 30 years old."
Shelby Seely, a senior majoring in theater, also believes that new seats are important to the success of Quirk-Sponberg and the audiences' comfort.
"If [the audience is] sitting in uncomfortable, outdated seats that they feel squished into, that is taking away from their experience of the production.They're thinking about the fact that their feet have been asleep for the past half hour or their lower back hurts.“ Seely continued. "Getting new seats means a higher quality, theatrical experience for the audience. They come in and are impressed by our facilities, are able to feel comfortable. It allows them to put their full focus on the hard work the students have put into the production.”
If students are unable to donate, Stacey encourages students to instead spread the word about the S.I.T. campaign.
“I know our students work hard to put themselves through college and have numerous demands on their resources,” Stacey said. “ I would love if students would support our SIT campaign in the form of advocacy on campus and getting the word out on social media."
Once the campaign is complete and the chairs have been installed, there will be a celebration of the new seats in Quirk-Sponberg Theatres.
“I cannot wait for our patrons to see EMU productions in quality and comfortable seats,“ said Stacey. "That will be the ultimate experience."
To make a donation or learn more about the S.I.T. campaign, visit donate.emich.edu/project/16623.