The 2019 Christmas Gala will be performed at the Natchitoches Event Center this December due to reconstruction in A.A. Fredericks.
“Hosting the NSU Gala at the Natchitoches Events Center certainly offers a change in venue, but it also brings folks to the heart of the Historic Landmark District where most of the Christmas Festival activities take place,” Meghan Richard, the Natchitoches Event Center Event Coordinator, said.
Richard believes the new location will add to the excitement and electricity of the Christmas festivities. She thinks it is a great opportunity for people to see what the Natchitoches Event Center has to offer while people enjoy the traditional NSU Christmas Gala.
Since the production is in an open, large exhibit hall, the cast and crew will utilize the space.
There is no pit for the orchestra, so they will remain at ground level with the audience. There are no curtains, so the behind the scenes will be onstage during transitions.
The technical staff are the most challenged because they are not accustomed to the event center’s sound equipment, lights, backdrops and screens. Technical rehearsal may be longer in preparation.
The venue change also affects casting, arrangements, transportation and seating. The production has a smaller cast to accommodate the limited stage space and weight limit.
There are about 1000 ground level seats in the Natchitoches Event Center rather than the 1400 seats in A.A. Fredericks. Because of this, all attendees will have to purchase and print their tickets or have them available on mobile devices before the show.
Busses will transport audience members from Prather Coliseum to the Natchitoches Event Center and back before and after productions as a solution to the limited parking.
“I think changing it up and being in a different venue is a great way for us to challenge ourselves and our students to learn how to improvise, how to work on the spot and how to manage some of their own challenges throughout the performance,” Department Head of Theatre and Dance Brett Garfinkel said.
Although there will be changes, the attendance and visual impact of the performance is expected to remain the same. Director Michael Rorex explained that the Creative and Performing Arts Department began planning in August, and auditions were this month.
They will practice in NSU’s theater, and then they will practice at the Natchitoches Event Center three days before the premiere on Wednesday, Dec.4.
“We already have the show mapped out, and music has been ordered to begin rehearsals for singers, dancers, orchestra and jazz orchestra,” Rorex said. “It will be an exciting and beautiful GALA, and I promise it will not disappoint.”
The NSU Christmas Gala will be Dec. 4, Dec. 5, and Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. with an additional 9 p.m. performance on Dec. 6.