B.3 OUR SPACES
campus performance and work spaces of the University Theatre are located principally
in McKinley Hall and
With your schedule of classes, rehearsals, production preparations, and
time spent seeking special favors from your kindly professors, these are spaces
you will come to know well.
Auditorium, as it was originally called, was constructed in 1941.
It was named after forty-one-year Seattle Pacific Board of Trustees member
and Free Methodist preacher C. S. McKinley, who is credited with altering the
institution’s direction in 1912, from exclusive Seattle Seminary to an interdenominational
College, and with later urging the discontinuance
of the Seattle Pacific
High School in 1936.
1941 to 1970, McKinley Auditorium—which then seated 500
on a barely-raked main floor and balcony—was the meeting place for Seattle
Pacific’s daily chapel program. Through the
years the McKinley proscenium stage was used countless times for concerts, talent
shows, coronations, commencement, church services, and baptisms.
The baptismal pool is still in place, located under the upstage center
flooring. During war-delayed construction, a pipe
organ was purchased from the Neptune Theatre, forcing the unplanned addition
of the present stage house to house the pipe room and an expanded platform. Used
seats were purchased from the demolished Metropolitan Theatre, once Seattle’s
premiere playhouse, located in the space now enclosed by the Olympic Four Seasons
1943 to 1977, the lower floor of McKinley housed the Home Economics
department, with offices, classroom, kitchens, and clothing construction labs.
The theatre production program was not allowed use of these spaces—even
during performances—for fear of cutting tables becoming smeared with make-up.
the mid-1950s, plays were cautiously introduced on campus, and
were well-established by the early 1960s, although productions
were seriously compromised by twice-daily chapel use of the space.
Sets were allowed to be anchored in place for no more than three chapel
days, and then only if there was no marring of the polished oak stage floor.
And, of course, there was the organ console sticking up fourteen inches
over the platform downstage right; fourteen feet from curtain line to rear
wall, no fly, minuscule wing space; two lighting positions out front, plus a temporarily
batten flown-in. There was no shop or costume lab.
1970 the chapel program was moved to the First Free Methodist
Church, and the theatre program, then called the Dramatic Arts
track of the Department of Speech, incrementally assumed ownership,
although the Home Economics department remained in control of the lower floor
spaces until 1977 when it moved to Peterson Hall, into spaces recently vacated
by the Chemistry department labs through the opening of the Miller Science Learning
Center. McKinley had become so worn that nobody but
theatre would have it.
the early 1980’s, and after much lobbying, the administrative
officials decided that the building should be refurbished to serve the performance
programs of music and theatre. What began
as a promise of new paint and upholstery for the seats was manipulated into a
major project through application of a strong vision of what the space could become.
fairness, it needs to be noted that a third full-time faculty position—the
scenographer—was added that at time, followed, along with the remodeling,
by the technical director position. The administration,
thus, vested the theatre program with significant legitimacy.)
formal dedication of the renovated McKinley Hall occurred on November
Bach Performing Arts Theatre was named
in honor of major benefactors, Dr. Edward E. Bach and his wife Dorothy.
For over forty years, Dr. Bach practiced optometry in Anchorage,
wife’s commitment to music provided major impetus for their gift.
Dorothy Boyd Kreider gallery after was named to honor the longtime chair of the
Home Economics department, a person of rare graciousness, and an enthusiastic
supporter of the arts on campus. The renovation costs
were just over one million dollars, fully equipped. The
Theatre faculty was allowed full consultation in the renovation planning.
Hall grew out of a post-war attempt to
establish an Industrial Arts Department. In addition
to providing vocational training and appealing to avocational interests, the new
program was conceived as complementing the education of teachers and missionaries.
Woodworking was prominent in the first offerings, with a machine shop—the
site of today’s theatre shop—added to the tiny building in 1949.
At one time it was used for automobile repair courses as well.
At that time plans to enlarge the building to it’s present configuration
were laid. Construction was directed by the Industrial
Arts professor and carried out using student help. The
finished building, with its second-floor lecture hall and classrooms, was finally
dedicated in 1962. It was named in honor of Professor
Burton Beegle, longtime mathematics teacher.
the demise of the industrial arts program in the early 1960’s, along with
Seattle Pacific’s Flight
School, Secretarial Science
program, and sign language courses, the building was occupied by the Physics and
Mathematics departments until 1977 when the Miller Science Learning Center (MSLC,
now Otto Miller Hall) opened.
The theatre Technical Director’s office and the small rooms on the mezzanine
level are now used for costume storage. The department won assignment of our present
Beegle Hall spaces in 1978, although an awkward relationship was created by positioning
an orchestra room adjacent to a scene shop.