Ferguson Center for the Arts
Designed in collaboration with world-renowned architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed, the new Ferguson Center for the Arts brings together the departments of music, drama and dance with professional-caliber performance, rehearsal, and teaching spaces, making it a marketplace of cultural exchange.
The largest Ferguson Center venue, the 1700-seat Proscenium Theatre, features three seating levels and sophisticated technology to allow for a broad range of symphony, opera, dance, musical, and assembly events. The orchestra pit accommodates a variety of ensembles up to a full opera orchestra. The stage is complete with a fly tower and generous backstage support area. The 440-seat Music and Theatre Hall is a more intimate performance venue, designed for student performances as well as small- to mid-sized road shows. Adjustable acoustics and movable orchestra shell make the space ideal for drama, music or dance. The smallest of the three performance venues, the 150-seat Studio Theatre is designed for exploration and innovation and is the most flexible. A retractable center floor combines with seating platforms to allow configuration for standard end stage performance, thrust stage, or theatre in the round. The theatre, combined with the adjacent Rehearsal Hall, can also be used for receptions and other university and community functions. In addition to its performance venues, the Ferguson includes classrooms, music practice rooms, teaching studios, visual arts studios, and faculty offices, as well as performance support spaces.
Since the Center's opening, test scores and GPAs of incoming freshman are measurably higher; music, theater, and dance majors have more than doubled; and CNU's arts reputation continues to grow. The project was chosen for inclusion in an international quadrennial celebration of performance and training spaces in Prague in 2007.
“This is one of the more exciting things to happen in Newport News in a generation. It signals the transformation of the community as well as the university and the region. It is a world-class facility designed by world-class architects.”Newport News Mayor Joe Frank