Theaters at Brooks Center close through May 15 to remove bats
CLEMSON — The Brooks Theatre and Bellamy Theatre at the Clemson University Brooks Center for the Performing Arts will be closed through May 15 to remove a colony of bats that roosted in the building.
After several bats were spotted in the main theater this week, maintenance personnel and a Clemson wildlife expert confirmed evidence of bat activity. Greg Yarrow, chair of the Clemson University forestry and environmental conservation department, believes a colony of bats has roosted in a theater wall.
The Brooks Center is working with wildlife experts to make sure the bats are removed humanely, and that any necessary repairs and cleaning are fully addressed.
A special apparatus has already been installed at the Brooks Center that allows bats to exit the building, but not re-enter.
“The safety of our students, faculty, staff and patrons is our highest priority,” said Richard E. Goodstein, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. “We are approaching this situation with an abundance of caution. With a suspected bat colony rather than a single stray, we want to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to protect the people of the university and the community from even the slightest health risk the bats’ presence might pose.”
Yarrow has identified the animals as free-tailed bats, which have a very low risk of carrying rabies. He said increased bat activity is not unusual in the spring, when the creatures are establishing maternal colonies after breeding.
The unplanned theater closures at the Brooks Center will make it necessary for a number of scheduled performances and events to be relocated, rescheduled and, in some cases, canceled.
Announcements on affected events will be shared with ticket-holders and will be posted on the Brooks Center website and through Clemson University social media channels once information becomes available.
In general, the public is reminded not to interact with bats they might observe and not to touch them or harm them, as bats are protected by federal law. Any direct contact with a bat is grounds for medical attention to rule out the remote risk of contact with rabies.