Campus Life

Presentation Theater Gets a Makeover

by Evan Elliot, USF News

Presentation Theater, the 430-seat venue in the School of Education building on Turk near Masonic, has been renovated and is now open for business. 

“Presentation Theater is a hub of arts and culture at USF,” said Joshua McDermott, director of performance spaces.

The theater, built in 1935 in the neo-Gothic style, now has new carpet, restored chairs, an upgraded fire alarm, a lift for wheelchair access to the stage, and new smoke hatches in the fly loft — the space above the stage where lights and scenery are suspended.

This work constitutes phase one of the renovation. Phase two, which will include new rigging and technical gear, will occur this summer. The renovation is funded from a $15 million gift from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts.

The university acquired the theater and Presentation High School in 1991. Presentation Theater has long served USF’s performances of theater, music, and dance, plus lectures, book readings, and panel discussions. In the past, USF has hosted fall convocation in the theater to kick off the school year, said McDermott.

The theater closed for renovation in Aug. 2019. It remained closed while renovation plans were reviewed and approved by the City of San Francisco.

The remodeled theater will be used for performances from the performing arts and social justice program, McDermott said. It will also be a multi-purpose space that students and faculty from various programs — such as design, architecture, engineering, fine arts, and media studies — may use for classes and projects.

“It’s a gathering space, maker space, study space, rehearsal space, and performance space,” McDermott said.


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