Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Entertainment Production Studio held a Tilt-Up Celebration on April 16, 2014, which allowed attendees to witness a wall of the 130,000 square foot state of the art production, rehearsal and performance facility being erected. Present at the ceremony were FIU’s President, Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, FIU’s Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration, Kenneth Jessell, President and Chief Operating Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. Adam Goldstein, and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the Executive Vice President of Royal Caribbean International, along with teams and personnel from both RCCL and FIU who have been involved in developing and implementing the partnership. Coincidentally for the Theatre Department, the first wall section of the facility under construction that has gone up happens to be the outside wall of the section that will house the 20,000 square foot costume shop and storage areas.
In his remarks, President Rosenberg expressed his appreciation to the visionaries at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and FIU who were committed to finding a way to create incredible opportunities for students while adding value to the community. He added that this venture will award our students training, research and internship opportunities.
RCCL President, Adam Goldstein spoke enthusiastically about how he is looking forward to the completion of the state-of-the-art facility on the picturesque Biscayne Bay Campus. He spoke of the need for a greater space to train the performers for RCCL’s expanding fleet of cruise ships. The 10 rehearsal studios, 300 seat Black Box Theatre and 20, 000 square foot costume shop and office spaces will certainly fulfill that need. He also noted that the partnership with FIU will be instrumental in preparing the cruise line performers.
RCI Executive Vice President, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo stated that she is thrilled that the new facility will be inaugurated in January 2015. She also mentioned the two newest Royal Caribbean cruise ships that will be coming on line in the near future, that new shows will be needed for them and that castings are already going on for them. Those new shows will be first to be rehearsed in the new studio being built here. She shared her pleasure about the fact that the two institutions of FIU and RCCL have been able to blur the lines between public-private sector and corporate-education to create a new, mutually beneficial education model.
Once the speeches were over, all attending raised their glasses of champagne and toasted the first raising of the wall as workmen and machinery gently guided it into place. Guests were then invited to sign their names on another section of wall that will be installed at a later date, during which time refreshments were served and musical entertainment was provided by FIU’s School of Music.
Everyone is excited about this endeavor and the possibilities it holds. This production/rehearsal/performance facility will enable RCCL to continue to offer the sophisticated world class entertainment that passengers want to see, and FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts, in conjunction with the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, will be an integral part of the process.