New Funds, Renovation Strengthen Willamette University’s Contribution to Dramatic Arts in Oregon

The 81-year old historic Kresge Theatre, originally built as a gymnasium in 1927, is being renovated into a state-of-the-art facility for students, alumni, faculty and patrons. Launched summer of 2009 and planned for completion spring of 2010, the renovation project will overhaul the theatre’s infrastructure, technology systems and space planning.

Recent support for this project comes from the Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust. A grant of $500,000 received by Willamette University will fund upgrades to the theatre space. The gift will go towards the renovation project’s final phase of improvements: installation of an innovative, flexible seating system and sound and audio-visual equipment; relocation and extension of costume, design, dance and theatre spaces; and installation of a tension grid catwalk, lighting system and new communications technology.

The new capabilities of the Kresge Theatre will enhance the experiential learning of our students’ providing access to the latest equipment, technology and creative space to hone their talent and skills. Campus and community art patrons will enjoy inspiring performances in the new theatre surrounds with improved sound and staging, increased accessibility at entrances and in the lobby, and expanded seating.

Through partnerships with engaged supporters, like the Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust, Willamette University is able to reinforce its commitment to the arts and role as a vibrant cultural center in the Willamette Valley. With a thoroughly renovated performance space, Willamette University’s theatre will reflect the quality of creative work produced by our students and faculty and increase our capacity to share that work with the wider community.

For more information about Willamette University’s theatre department and performances visit