Thursday, September 10, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: E.M. Pearson Theatre

Week 4: E.M. Pearson Theatre

Aerial shot of campus circa 1959

Concordia’s campus has its fair share of wonders, right? The Knoll at any time of the year, the Beutow Auditorium, but one that serves as a beacon for the school has to be E. M. Pearson Theatre. It opened September 10, 1994, (21! Who is taking it out for drinks?) and whether you are on campus or off, the building is a sight to behold.

In 1989-90, President Johnson and consultants raised 15 million dollars for future projects. This money was put toward E. M. Pearson Theatre and the Gangelhoff Center. Previously, drama productions were performed in the Beutow Music Auditorium, while a beautiful space, it was not designed specifically for drama. The Pearson Theatre was designed for flexibility; rows of seats can be added or subtracted, balconies and side wings can be used for seating or performance space, and hydraulic staging was designed so it could be lowered for additional seating or used as an orchestra pit. The theatre was designed with students in mind, so the entire space was designed to be used as a classroom—including the stage itself. In addition to the theatre, the building also houses a theatre lab and a dance studio/drama classroom.

This theater was, and still is, a beautiful addition to Concordia. My first impression of it was when I was 12 and I came to see a play; to me, Pearson was awe-inspiring.

- Michael

Groundbreaking for E.M. Pearson Theatre, 1993

Pearson Theatre site
Pearson Theatre under construction

Pearson Theatre completed

Michael Hernick recently graduated from Concordia University, Saint Paul with a major in History. He spent his summer buried in the Archive digging up interesting nuggets of Concordia's history. We will be highlighting his work with Throwback Thursday post, Treasures from the Archive, throughout the year!