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Missouri State University begins construction on new amphitheater and arts park

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 2:42 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release) - Missouri State University broke ground on a new amphitheater and arts park Thursday morning.

When the curtain rises on the 2022 season of Missouri State University’s Tent Theatre, the audience will be seated in the new John Goodman Amphitheatre in the new Judith Enyeart Reynolds Arts Park.

“This new arts park and permanent amphitheater are much welcome additions to our historic Tent Theatre,” Missouri State President Clif Smart said. “Our campus and larger community will have a vibrant and comfortable space to enjoy not only Tent Theatre and other productions, but also many special events for years to come.”

This open-air facility will include a permanent stage and tiers for 350 removable seats.

The John Goodman Amphitheatre will be in the plaza adjacent to Craig Hall, transforming the outdoor area into the Judith Enyeart Reynolds Arts Park.

Improvements will also be made to the landscape and hardscape surrounding the structure.

“Mr. Tent Theatre and friends are smiling,” Dr. Shawn Wahl, dean of the Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters, said. “This infrastructure, that started as B Blackwood’s dream, will evolve into a real structural centerpiece designed to serve everyone.

“This structure and surrounding arts park will help support student learning across all academic programs.”

John Goodman, who serves as the campaign chair, is an alumnus who graced the Tent Theatre stage and remembers it fondly.

“The nights in Springfield, in the summer doing Tent Theatre, for me are unmatched anywhere else on Earth,” Goodman wrote in his campaign letter.

Fundraising for the project continues, noted Brent Dunn, executive director of the Missouri State Foundation. A $500 gift can name an individual seat in the amphitheatre. Other naming opportunities exist for the Grand Entrance, stage house, overhead fans and more.

To allow adequate time and space for the construction project, Tent Theatre will hold performances for its 59th season in Coger Theatre (inside Craig Hall) during summer 2021.

The season includes:

  • “Beehive: The 60s Musical.”
  • “The 39 Steps.”
  • “Secret Garden.”

Tickets will be available for purchase for live and streaming performances beginning May 1.

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