This new Center for the Performing Arts will serve as a hub for performance at Randolph-Macon College and greatly enhance the instructional and performance environment in these growing programs. The cost of the project was $13.5 million.

If you would like to make a gift over the phone, arrange a larger gift, or have questions, please contact:
Robert Patterson, Senior Director of Institutional Partnerships

A photo of the Center for the Performing Arts taken from outside at night

Blackwell Auditorium, built in 1952, is now part of a state-of-the-art Center for the Performing Arts, a 19,200 square-foot home for RMC’s Theatre program and performing ensembles including Choir, Orchestra, and the co-curricular LUXE Show Choir.

The space, finished in 2022, connects to the original Blackwell footprint and features:

  • a new Cobb-Kesler studio theatre
  • the Haun Rehearsal Hall
  • drama classroom
  • faculty offices
  • a music library
  • other support rooms (dressing rooms, scene shop, rehearsal spaces, music storage, etc.)

Renovations to Blackwell Auditorium

RMC students playing the violin during a performance

Because this project included building a studio theatre in the new building, the stage in Blackwell Auditorium has been restored to its full size, allowing for larger and grander performances. The space is home to the LUXE Show Choir program, a popular co-curricular part of the RMC performance landscape today, composed of singers, dancers, and musicians; and also, continue to be used by the community for performances by the Richmond Symphony and the Ashland Variety Show, among others.

Renovations in Blackwell also include an enlarged lobby, sound and light lock entrances, and accessible seating. Renovations gave the College the opportunity to improve balcony sightlines and add several rows of seating. Concurrent fundraising will provide upgraded sound, lighting, and video/projection capabilities.

The Cobb-Kesler Theatre and Performance Spaces

Students perform in the Center for the Performing Arts
The Cobb-Kesler black box theatre hosts small theatre productions and showcase events.

The new building houses the Cobb-Kesler Theatre to accommodate a variety of stage configurations and seating arrangements for 80 to 145 patrons. New lighting and controls, a control room, a green room, and dressing rooms round out this new space.  Accompanying the theater are a drama classroom, faculty offices, costume shop, dye room, laundry facility, and scene shop.

Picture yourself here

Image of an auditorium chair with a blank plaque on the back

All donors of $1,000 or more will be recognized with gratitude on a plaque in the building or with a named seat in Blackwell Auditorium.

Consider making your gift over time! Flexible payment plans are available.

To make a gift of any size, insert “Blackwell Project” in the “Designation of Other” box on the form.