On September 12, 2014, Brian Schriner, Dean, College of Architecture + The Arts, hosted a Meet and Greet session for the leadership staff of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) to meet the faculty and staff of FIU’s Department of Theatre and School of Music. It was a fortuitous opportunity for everyone who will be involved in the state-of-the-art production, rehearsal and performance facility, currently under construction at the picturesque Biscayne Bay Campus, to meet and learn more about what this endeavor means to both institutions.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has a fleet of 21 cruise ships, housing approximately 30 million passengers each year. To keep everyone happy and entertained, they offer Tony Award winning, fully licensed Broadway productions, Las Vegas style performances, and ice and aqua spectaculars. Live auditions are held in over 60 locations worldwide where only the best performers are handpicked for their guests’ pleasure. Currently, rehearsals are being held at a 35,000 square foot building in Hollywood, Florida, but there has been a need for a greater space to accommodate the training for some time. The completion of this $20 million dollar, 130,000 square foot facility on the Biscayne Bay Campus will certainly resolve that issue. There will be 14 vocal rehearsal studios, a 20,000 square foot costume storage and production workspace and a 300-seat Black Box Theatre, where auditions will be held. Additionally, there are plans to renovate the Bay Vista Residence Hall on campus to provide housing while performers are in rehearsals.
FIU is particularly thrilled about this venture because it is a vital part of CARTA 2020 to establish partnerships that include of training, research and internship opportunities. It will also provide students with unparalleled experience and value to the community. Both parties intend to collaborate on a custom curriculum that will be beneficial to students and performers alike, with ship tours planned for select students, master classes in design, and mock-auditions for students to get feedback from working professionals in preparation for job readiness and career placement. In addition, faculty members will be able to participate in enrichment lectures if they choose to do so.
According to Dean Brian Schriner, “as part of our CARTA 2020 vision, we will continue to create dynamic public/private partnerships like this that are multifaceted and mutually beneficial.”
Overall, the session was well attended and most informative. We are all looking forward to January 12, 2015, which is the expected first day of rehearsal in the new facility, and to a successful, continuing partnership.