Emens auditorium offers backstage tours for 50th anniversary

Audience members stand up and dance during the Here Come the Mummies show on Sept. 28  at Emens Auditorium. DN PHOTO JONATHAN MIKSANEK
Audience members stand up and dance during the Here Come the Mummies show on Sept. 28 at Emens Auditorium. DN PHOTO JONATHAN MIKSANEK

Quick Facts

• Emens Auditorium officially dedicated Oct. 25 1964

• The venue was named after Ball State’s sixth president John R. Emens

• The auditorium seats more than 3500.

• With in the first 25 years, there were more than 3.6 million visitors.

• The structure costs $3 million, half funded by university and the rest raised by the community.

Source: bsu.edu

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, John R. Emens Auditorium gave the public a behind the scenes look at the venue that brings singers, musicals and guest speakers to Ball State.

Beginning at 1 p.m., backstage tours were given every 15 minutes , where people explored the green room, the dressing rooms and other areas normally not open to the public.

Michael Dawson, Muncie resident and 1987 Ball State graduate, has attended numerous events at Emens Auditorium.

“I loved seeing backstage, particularly under the stage. I have lived in Muncie all my life and never seen these areas,” Dawson said.

Dawson said one of his favorite memories of Emens is when former president Gerald R. Ford came to speak.

“That was interesting,” he said. “I had never been in the presence of anyone that notable before. I have seen all sorts of events here, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.”

Office manager Deanna Boyd said the success of Emens is due to all the organization and preparation for each event.

“When people come in it’s organized from backstage to the front doors, everything is orchestrated to ensure a good experience for our patrons,” Boyd said.

One of the notable events for Boyd was when David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey came in November 2012.

“It was just amazing to see such two big personalities on Emens’ stage at once,” she said. “We worked on it for weeks of course getting everything ready and organized, but when they both came out, it was a neat experience.”

Kristi Chambers, marketing assistant, said something she will always remember is when Hunter Hayes and Jason Mraz met with their fans.

“They came off their tour buses, took pictures and signed things. That just doesn’t happen very often,” she said.

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