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Winter Park Edition, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 1973
DEATH APPEARS IMMINENT ... For Fred Stone Theater
The Fred Stone Laboratory Theater was built on the Rollins College campus in 1939.
A brief mention of the old frame building can be found in Claire Leavitt MacDowell's "Chronological History of Winter Park."
The author observes, "The Fred Stone Laboratory Theater was; built for the use of the Rollins Student Players, paid for principally from proceeds of the play 'Lightnin',' in which Fred Stone played the leading part."
As years passed, the "laboratory" was dropped from the building's proper name, and it was simply known as the "Fred Stone Theater."
Now the days are apparently numbered for the theater situated on the northwest corner of Chase Avenue and what is referred to as Old Fairbanks Avenue.
After March 1, audience applause will no longer echo from the roof beams, and death will not be far off.
Despite Students' Plea, Old Theater Appears Doomed
By BRUCE DUDLEY
Sentinel Star Staff
A dramatic plea by drama students at Rollins College to stop the closing and demolition of the Fred Stone Theater appears to be headed for a tragic ending.
Faced with possible cancellation of the college's insurance and stern warnings by fire inspectors, Rollins officials say there is no recourse but to shut down the old frame campus landmark.
THE COLLEGE administration decided to designate March 1,for the curtain to come down on the theater, which also houses some offices and the drama department's scenery shop.
But in true grease paint tradition, drama students decided the show must go on and launched a drive to save the theater, where four more plays were to be staged this season.
Their efforts resulted in an unscheduled performance at the theater last Friday as college officials, faculty members and approximately 50 students attempted to seek solutions and a postponement of the theater's death.
DWIGHT LING, Rollins provost, and Charles Zellers, vice-president of business of finance, told students it might be possible to continue using the shop area. But they said arrangements will have to be made for a theater in another building.
College officials told students it would take $100,000 plus to repair the theater and indicated this would be an impractical expenditure of funds since long range plans call for the destruction of the frame building so a fine arts building can be constructed in the area.
Ling said he was sure college president, Dr. Jack Critchfield, who was out of town Friday, would rather they raise funds for the new theater complex than for repairs to the Fred Stone.
SOME STUDENTS suggested signs could be posted on the theater warning patrons they entered at their own risk. But Zellers warned that the college "could not sign away its liability."
Zellers said the college has received its "final warning" about the building's unsafe conditions, and "it could be closed in one day's time."
Dr. Robert Juergens, drama professor and director of the college's Annie Russell Theater, told students he agreed with what they were attempting to do. But added he felt their efforts, under the circumstances, were futile.
JUERGENS SAID, "If you haven't shed some perspiration here you might not understand."
The drama instructor, admitting that one "tends to become sentimental" about the old building, said he feels some of the college's best performances were done in the Fred Stone "because of the freedom it has offered."
"Nobody cared where you were going to hammer a nail here," he said.
BUT HE also understood the college administration's '' reluctance to repair a building we know we are eventually going to replace."
Juergens said he also has been assured that the fine arts buildings is "one of the top, if not the top priority item" in an estimated $18 million capital fund drive now being mapped by the college.
The drama director pointed out the building has never been "legally condemned," but he admitted wiring and other items are "inadequate."
THE STUDENTS were told that another frame building immediately north of Fred Stone will be remodeled for use as a theater and that a new location will be found for the theater shop.
But many students, including the four student directors for the shows scheduled for the Fred Stone, were still upset at the close of the meeting, and there was still discussion about a fund drive to repair the Fred Stone Theater.
Ling told students the administration had not made "an overnight decision" on the theater. But he stressed the entire campus had to be considered since there was a possibility of losing insurance.
"WE HAVE to think of your safety and the public's safety," he said, as questions and answers were fired back and forth.
|Title||Fred Stone Theatre's Demise Covered in the Sentinel Star|
|Subject||Fred Stone Theatre I (Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla.) -- 1970 - 1980; Rollins College (Winter Park, Fla.) -- Buildings -- 1970 - 1980; Zellers, Charles; Critchfield, Jack B., 1933 - ; Jurgens, Robert O.; Ling, Dwight Leroy; Theaters -- Florida -- Winter Park -- 1970 - 1980|
|No. of Pages||2|
|Relation||Sentinel Star, Winter Park Edition, 1973-01-23, Tuesday, pg. 4|
|Coverage||Winter Park, Fla.. -- 1970 - 1980|
|Rights||Rollins College Archives|