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The Hallie Flanagan Davis Powerhouse Theater


The Martel Theater takes up the core of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film. Patrons enter the theater from a dramatic three-story lobby with a second floor walkway that looks down on the spectators waiting below. The cool light wood and rich purple curtain of the Martel offer a striking introduction to the space upon entering the theater. With orchestra seating, side parterres, and a balcony, this inviting space seats 330 people. The Martel has a large proscenium stage, a flyhouse, a fully trapable floor, a 1600 square foot shop, and technologically advanced light and sound systems. The department uses the Martel traditionally for both dramas and musicals, and unconventionally for more novel, sometimes student written, productions. The Martel is a classroom for the study of theater and performance, and as such houses courses and the critical work of making theater.

Across the quadrangle from the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film lies the Hallie Flanagan Davis Powerhouse Theater. In 1973 the power house of the college's old heating plant, which had not been used for its original purpose since 1955, was the first of several neighboring utility buildings to be adaptively re-used when it opened as the Powerhouse Theater. The building was transformed into the Powerhouse by Robertson Ward Jr., and today hosts many student productions, as well as the renowned Vassar College & New York Stage and Film Powerhouse Summer Theater program in its incredibly flexible black box performance space. A series of risers make it possible to arrange the seating in the space in dozens of configurations. With a limited trap, a flexible lighting grid, a fly system, and curtains that are able to encircle the space the room is a theatrical playground. This theater has hosted experimental productions of Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, Ibsen, and the work of contemporary playwrights like Tony Kushner and Charles Mee.