Hearst Greek Theatre

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Hearst Greek Theatre
The Greek Theatre Berkeley Sign.jpg
Address 2001 Gayley Rd
Location Berkeley, California
Owner University of California, Berkeley
Operator concerts promoted by Another Planet Entertainment
Type amphitheater
Capacity 8,500
Opened 1903
Website
Hearst Greek Theatre
Hearst Greek Theatre is located in California
Hearst Greek Theatre
Coordinates 37°52′25.3″N 122°15′15.1″W / 37.873694°N 122.254194°W / 37.873694; -122.254194Coordinates: 37°52′25.3″N 122°15′15.1″W / 37.873694°N 122.254194°W / 37.873694; -122.254194
Architect John Galen Howard
Architectural style Greek Revival
Governing body State
MPS Berkeley, University of California MRA
NRHP Reference # 82004644[1]
BERKL # 153
Significant dates
Added to NRHP March 25, 1982
Designated BERKL February 25, 1991[2]

The William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, known locally as simply the Greek Theatre, is an 8,500-seat amphitheater owned and operated by the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, USA.

The Greek Theatre hosts The Berkeley Jazz Festival, pop, rock, and world music concerts, UC Berkeley graduation ceremonies, occasional addresses by noted speakers, and other events. Past speakers include President Theodore Roosevelt, William Randolph Hearst, and the Dalai Lama.

History[edit]

The Greek Theater was built in 1903 on the site of a rough outdoor bowl already in use as an amphitheater since 1894 known as "Ben Weed's Amphitheater". The project was championed by University of California president Benjamin Ide Wheeler and was the first University building designed by John Galen Howard. Its construction was financed by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, after whom it was named. The design of the theater is based directly on the ancient Greek theater of Epidaurus.

It officially opened on September 24, 1903 with a student production of The Birds by Aristophanes. However, while still under construction in May 1903, the theatre hosted a graduation ceremony with an address by President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a friend of Wheeler's from New York.

In 1957, a basement backstage area was added, which was designed by Ernest Born. It includes a large plaza flanked by two stage-level constructions.[3]

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1]

Over the years, the Greek Theatre has seen performances from hundreds of musical and theatrical artists. The Greek has also long been the venue for a number of annual UC Berkeley events including departmental graduation ceremonies, the Commencement Convocation for graduating seniors, and the Big Game Bonfire Rally before the Big Game each year with Stanford. Charter Day ceremonies and inaugurations of University of California presidents and Berkeley chancellors have been held in the Greek Theatre. Berkeley High school also uses the Greek Theatre for their graduation ceremonies.

Another Planet Entertainment became the exclusive concert promoter at the Greek in 2004.[4]

In May 2012, a seismic retrofit and expansion was completed by Overaa Construction. Four new reinforced concrete columns were added and concealed in the original structure.[3][5]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Berkeley Landmarks". Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  3. ^ a b "Award of Merit, Renovation/Restoration: UC Berkeley's Hearst Greek Theatre". ENR California (McGraw-Hill Construction). November 27, 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Clear Channel Loses Greek Theater Concerts
  5. ^ "Historic Greek Theatre safe, sound and superb after upgrades". News Center (UC Berkeley). Retrieved 23 August 2014.