Presentation Theater

Please contact David Pangaro, Director of Presentation Theater, for rental information or if you have any questions about the Presentation theater: 415-422-2311, pangarod@usfca.edu.

University of San Francisco's Presentation Theater

Known for its excellent acoustics and ornate Gothic Revival proscenium, is an elegant performance space. The Theater's mission is to serve as a lively cultural arts venue that enriches the neighborhood, the city, and the University campus. The Theater hosts both international and national productions as well as public University lectures and readings.   

A Brief History of Presentation Theater

The 478-seat recently renovated theater at USF's School of Education was previously known as the Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Theater, Presentation Theater and, prior to that, the Little Theater. In 2002, the University of San Francisco once again renamed it University of San Francisco Presentation Theater.

The School of Education Building was constructed in 1930 on land purchased by the Sisters of Mercy in the early 1800s. It was later purchased by the Sisters of Presentation, whose two city convents had been destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Here, the Sisters, headed by Mother M. Reginald Leahy, opened the Academy of the Presentation (later known as Presentation High School) in 1930.

The facilities were designed by architect Edward Eames and built by contractor J.A. Bryant. Based on Mother Reginald's belief that a school "should also be a friendly place for young women" she chose Tudor Gothic architecture because it lent itself to "handsome massing of the different elements of the building  the beautiful garden, the classroom area, the Little Theater, the gym."

The Little Theater was built in the Adam manner, named after Robert Adam, an eighteenth-century Scottish architect who made a special study of Greco-Roman architecture and decoration. This style is particularly prominent in the ornamental plasterwork around the proscenium arch and around the stage. Several motifs in the plasterwork show the influence of Greece and Rome: urns, cameos, winged sphinxes and flowers in the Corinthian style. In the center of the proscenium are the three graces. Adam believed the audience should be near the performance, so the seats in the Little Theater were positioned "for the greatest visibility."

Presentation Theater is probably best known as the home of the Lamplighters Music Theatre, beloved performers of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. In 1968, they moved to Presentation Theater from the Harding Theater where they had performed without interruption since 1961. In June 1991, the University of San Francisco purchased the Presentation campus, and Presentation High School vacated the facilities at the end of the year. An extensive renovation began, making it necessary for The Lamplighters once again to look for a new home. Their last performance in Presentation was held in Spring of 1995. For more information on The Lamplighters, please see www.lamplighters.org

Thanks to the generosity of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts, Presentation Theater underwent extensive remodeling, including new technical systems. The theater opened in December 1996, managed by the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, with the San Francisco Opera Center's production of Hansel and Gretel; the Center returned in Spring of 1997 with Handel's Ezio.

In 1999, the University resumed operation and management of the theater with the same commitment to providing a venue for artistic and cultural events that will enrich the community and University. The theater is managed by the Performing Arts Department in the USF's College of Arts and Sciences.

Directions to The Presentation Theater
2350 Turk Boulevard (just west of Masonic) San Francisco, CA 94117

Presentation Theater

Directions From Your Location
(Yahoo! Maps)
Directions to 2350 Turk Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118-4340

General Directions to the Theater

Traveling South From the Golden Gate Bridge/North Bay
After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, stay in the right lane and take the 19th Avenue exit. Turn right on Cabrillo Street and then left onto 14th Avenue. Proceed to Fulton Street and turn left. At the top of the hill, turn left onto Parker Avenue and proceed two block north to Turk Street. Turn Right on Turk Street and proceed past the USF Lone Mountatin campus, after which the Presentation Theater is on your Left, in USF's School of Education.

Traveling West From the Bay Bridge/East Bay
After crossing the Bay Bridge, take the 9th Street/Civic Center exit. Head westbound on Harrison Street for 1 block then turn right onto 9th Street. Once on 9th, stay in 2 left lanes and veer onto Hayes Street. Continue on Hayes for 8 blocks to Webster Street. Turn right onto Webster and proceed 2 blocks to Fulton Street. Turn left onto Fulton and continue approximately 1 mile to Masonic Ave. Turn left on Turk Street - the Presentation Theater is on your right, in USF's School of Education.

Traveling North from the Peninsula

Take Highway 280 Northbound. Take the 19th Avenue exit and stay in the left lanes. Stay on 19th Avenue for approximately three miles. Turn right onto Fulton Street. At the top of the hill, turn left onto Parker Avenue and proceed two block north to Turk Street. Turn Right on Turk Street and proceed past the USF Lone Mountatin campus, after which the Presentation Theater is on your Left, in USF's School of Education.

Traveling North From San Jose/South Bay

Take Highway 101 Northbound. Once in San Francisco, take the 9th Street/Civic Center exit. Head westbound on Harrison Street for 1 block  then turn right onto 9th Street. Once on 9th, stay in 2 left lanes and veer onto Hayes Street. Continue on Hayes for 8 blocks to Webster Street. Turn right onto Webster and proceed 2 blocks to Fulton Street. Turn left onto Fulton and continue approximately 1 mile to Masonic Avenue - Turn right on and then left on Turk Street. The Presentation Theater is on your right, in USF's School of Education. 

Public Transportation

  1. Take BART  to Powell Street Station
  2. On Powell Street near 5th, take the 31 Muni  Bus going toward Ocean Beach
  3. Get off at Turk and Golden Gate Avenue. 
  4. The Presentation Theater is on 2350 Turk Boulevard, in USF's School of Education.