Theatre III: Part II


05/02/2018

"Theatre III was the rebirth of what the theatre was before."

This article is a continuation from last month's article, "Throwback to Theatre III"

Michael "Mike" Kennedy was a former Theatre III participant, and later, a fundamental St. Ambrose theatre professor. In spring 1957, he acted in 12 Angry Men, the first Theatre III production on a 44-foot wide and 12-foot deep stage. It was built from scratch by Theatre III students in a lecture hall inside Lewis Hall. Kennedy also witnessed the transformation and termination of Theatre III in 1971.

"I think it was the solidification that we were going to start a theatre, and it has just continued," Kennedy said.

Though Theatre III did not have the luxuries of an auditorium or professional theatre, the people involved made the productions well worth watching. Wayne Loui initiated Theatre III and eventually founded an outdoor Webster College theatre troupe called Theatre Impact and taught at St. Louis University. There were also many other talents who graduated after involvement in Theatre III and went on to become theatre professionals.

Back in the Day

Scenes from Theatre III

The beginning of Theatre at Ambrose began with Theatre III. They produced several shows before becoming an academic department, some of which are featured here: 12 Angry Men and The Crucible. You may also recognize the interior of the Galvin Fine Arts Center from when it opened in 1971.

Some of those talents included:

Starting in 1970, Theatre III began to change. After a large donation, construction of the Galvin Fine Arts Center began, equipped with a full-fledged auditorium with 1,200 seats plus four bays available as seating or lecture halls.

Some Theatre III students, such as Deborah Wiss, had the opportunity to assist in the building's development by choosing the theater's colors and décor. The $1.8 million Galvin Fine Arts Center formally opened May 8, 1971. See pictures of the April 1971 announcement

"It was wonderful," Wiss said. "But something was lost when we had to move from the intimate location. ‘Doing it all' went away, and people became more specialized. But that didn't make the new theatre any less important, or less wonderful."

Though Theatre III faded away, the memories and foundation it created for the SAU Theatre Department remain today. We are so thankful for these pioneers of our program showing today's students the history of their program, and how much hard work can truly make theatre an amazing and collaborative experience.


I think it was the same thing that happens today: We turned out people who were adaptable to anything in theatre. No matter how crude or tough the theatre is, if you have talent, you will turn out a pretty good show.

Mike Kennedy


Some of those talents included:

Starting in 1970, Theatre III began to change. After a large donation, construction of the Galvin Fine Arts Center began, equipped with a full-fledged auditorium with 1,200 seats plus four bays available as seating or lecture halls.

Some Theatre III students, such as Deborah Wiss, had the opportunity to assist in the building's development by choosing the theater's colors and décor. The $1.8 million Galvin Fine Arts Center formally opened May 8, 1971.

"It was wonderful," Wiss said. "But something was lost when we had to move from the intimate location. ‘Doing it all' went away, and people became more specialized. But that didn't make the new theatre any less important, or less wonderful."

Though Theatre III faded away, the memories and foundation it created for the SAU Theatre Department remain today. We are so thankful for these pioneers of our program showing today's students the history of their program, and how much hard work can truly make theatre an amazing and collaborative experience.

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