By Stephen Wilson

Van Gogh painted a simple wooden chair with a thatched seat on which a pipe and tobacco rest.

The 1956 Eames lounge chair and ottoman sit on display at the Museum of Modern Art. 

The Iron Throne from Game of Thrones is forged from over 1,000 swords.

At the Globe Theatre, groundlings stood for hours without a chair. Viewers of Richard III may have adapted his famous line and yelled, “A chair, a chair, my kingdom for a chair.”

If chairs have played a part in art over centuries, here’s a trick question: When is a seat not a seat? 

When it supports a personal legacy.

Tail lights streak across the street in front of Buck Hall at night

With over 200 seats in the Weiss Theater, a flexible black box performance space in Buck Hall as part of the downtown Williams Arts Campus, there is a lot of legacy to go around.

The legacy is created by making a contribution of $500 to the Theater Legacy Endowment Fund, which then takes your name (or the name of your choosing), etches it on a bronze plaque, and affixes it to the seat of your choice. 

The gift helps in three areas:

  • Technology advances: Keeping students engaged with the latest technology, like training actors to move around virtual sets and scenery, and using virtual props 
  • Sustainability: Reducing the carbon footprint to create and produce theatrical programming, like electronic programs and recycling scenery
  • Routine maintenance: Making small refurbishments that keep the space looking new

A bronze plaque is affixed to an arm rest of a seat

“We are so lucky to have so many theater angels who support our productions,” says Michael O’Neill, associate professor of theater. “This fund helps create a lasting memory for donors while also ensuring our facilities support our mission to develop theatrical artists and production technologists.”

Nearly 30 faculty, administrators, and alumni have already supported the fund. Here’s why:

Abu Rizvi, professor of economics, and Paige Berg Rizvi
“Theater invites you into a different world. When you emerge from theater production, you have a renewed perspective on society and its possibilities. We wanted to support getting students involved in this critical exploration.”

Charles Felix ’08
“I support the Have-a-Seat fund for two reasons: 1) to support the Theater Department financially. I believe access to art makes life a little more bearable and a lot more interesting; and 2) to have the satisfaction of seeing my name on a chair when I visit the theater. I want people to know that I care enough about arts education and community access to arts to donate money to the theater. I hope it encourages others to do the same.” 

Nathaniel Costa ’11 and Alexandra Lucy ’12
“This fund gave us an opportunity to give back to the program that gave us so much. We built amazing memories, lifelong friendships; we met in theater and now we’re married! Being able to put our names on a seat gives us a tangible connection to the department in a way that helps college theater be for others what it was for us.”

Tom DiGiovanni ’96 and Amy Ahart ’97
“Our family proudly supports the theater, music, and arts program at Lafayette College. We see the value and the joy it offers to students and the entire Lafayette community. The arts give us a window into stories other than our own. Ensuring students and faculty have the space and resources to bring their craft to light not only benefits the community, but provides a place for students to grow, learn, and enhance their experience at Lafayette College.”

Have a Seat

Contribute to Lafayette's Theater Legacy

The Department of Theater at Lafayette College invites you to "Have a Seat" and leave your mark on the Weiss Theater in Buck Hall on the Williams Arts Campus.

Learn more
Categorized in: Alumni, Community, News and Features, The Arts, Theater
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