Eastern Illinois University’s Doudna Fine Arts Center is a cultural beacon for all of central Illinois. Designed by Antoine Predock, the building stands as a stunning example of modern architecture, uniting form and function, and provides a state-of-the-art home to EIU’s School of the Arts (comprising the Departments of Art + Design, Music, and Theatre).
The Doudna presents performances by EIU students and faculty, by school and community groups in our region, and by artists from around the world who engage diverse audiences and work with our faculty, students, and community members in master classes. Part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Doudna also supports and encourages the Humanities and the Sciences to showcase their dynamism and creativity and frequently collaborates with EIU’s Tarble Arts Center, an accredited art museum. The New and Emerging Artists Series epitomizes our mission to join with our community in a celebration of human creativity and artistic inspiration.
Located on the lower level of the Doudna, the Red Zone is a popular place for students to relax, sketch, study, shoot photos and get inspired. Featuring the facility’s signature red glass-clad walls and floor, it also boasts modular modern red furniture that can be moved into whatever configuration your creative heart desires.
It sits between the Music and Art wings of the Doudna Fine Arts Center and is accessible by using stairs or the elevator to the lower level. The Red Zone is open and available most hours of the day if the building is open, although it can be vacated and locked at the request of the Doudna staff so as not to interfere with concerts and special events.
Rich acoustics and 175 seats highlight this warm, intimate performance space. Opaque glass lines the stage and ceiling, providing both visual and acoustic interest. The Recital Hall welcomes faculty and student recitals, rehearsals, solo and chamber performances, small music theatre productions, and many other events. It is also available on a rental basis for community events.
The E. Glendon Gabbard and Lucina Paquet Gabbard Green Room provides a space for performers to relax and prepare before shows. It features a front room with exits to the Proscenium Theatre or the Black Box Theatre; two large and two small dressing rooms complete with desks, closets, mirrors, lights, and sinks; full showers; and a kitchenette.
The room was named in recognition of the E. Glendon Gabbard and Lucy Paquet Gabbart and their long tenure and service to the students of Eastern.
Glendon "Gabby" Gabbard began his teaching career in theatre arts at Eastern Illinois University in 1947. Until his retirement in 1984, he directed between three and six plays each year. His plays were well-received by audiences, and many of his students went on to successful careers as actors and teachers.
Lucina “Lucy” Paquet Gabbard was a prolific author and published extensively. She taught for many years in EIU's Department of English.
Following their retirement, they moved to Chicago where they became professional actors. They appeared in producrtions at the Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens and many other venues in Chicago 's active theatre scene. Appearances in "Groundhog's Day," "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "Prelude to a Kiss" highlighted their careers, as did Lucy Gabbard's appearance in the 1990 Tony Award-winning production of "The Grapes of Wrath."
The Hall of Mirrors travels the main Concourse of the Doudna Fine Arts Center and it could be argued is the most commented on feature of the entire facility. The mirrored glass is just one use of glass elements in the building, contributing to the feeling of being inside a natural crystalline formation. As Doudna architect Antoine Predock explained: "The concourse sequentially evolves, folds, and merges one moment to another as classes, exhibits, critiques, rehearsals, performances, and concerts spontaneously interact."
The Hall mirrors the quotation of philosopher Thomas Merton from No Man Is An Island: "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time". To do that, we give you plenty of opportunities to see yourself before and after fine art performances as you walk the Hall of Mirrors.
The Dvorak Concert Hall is a 568-seat professional concert hall that features a copper-clad stage shell, and finely tuned state-of-the-art acoustics. Looking at the space now, it can be hard to believe the Dvorak Concert Hall is one of the remaining spaces from the original Doudna building before the re-opening in 2008. The space lives up to its rich history, serving as the main venue for our marquee performances and is home to many EIU Music Department events, community events, and is also available to be rented for weddings, banquets, receptions, and other special events.
The 290-seat Proscenium Theatre is the perfect size for productions large and small. With a large proscenium-style stage and an apron thrust, performers move freely while the audience enjoys an unobstructed view of all the action.
The Theatre is complete with a generous backstage fly system; modern lighting and audio booths; spotlight and two front of house catwalk positions; and, easy access to the scene shop, costume shop, and Green Room. Frosted glass on the outside of the Theatre maintains the glass theme carried throughout the building.
Black Box theatres are a standard in university and teaching environments where a second space is needed for productions and instruction. The Doudna's Black Box Theatre boasts modern catwalks as well as full lighting and audio systems, making it one of the most technologically advanced Black Box Theatres in the region. With no fixed seating, the space can be configured to a variety of production settings and usually holds about 125 people. It is used by the Theatre Arts Department for shows, classes and rehearsals; the Music Department for Jazz performances; the Doudna Fine Arts Center for touring professional shows; and the community as a multi-purpose space on a rental basis. The Black Box entrances are adorned with black mirrored glass, continuing the themes of glass and reflection throughout the Doudna.
The Warren and Helen (Thomas) Mellin steps on the west Quad side of the building have quickly become a central gathering place on campus. The steps are named for two friends of EIU who granted a portion of their estate to the University. The Mellins generously supported the arts, including the donation of paintings to the Tarble Arts Center which are on display at various EIU locations. The Mellin steps are a gathering point for students sharing socially, academically, artistically, or just to catch some afternoon sun.