The idea for the Arthur Miller Theatre originated in 1997 when University of Michigan President Lee Bollinger proposed it to the Board of Regents. It finally opened on March 29, 2007 with a production of the playwright's Play for Time
When the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright was approached by his alma mater, his response was a simple postcard. “The theatre is a lovely idea,” he wrote in fall 1997. “I’ve resisted similar proposals from others, but it seems right from Ann Arbor.” The project was enabled by a gift of $10 million from Charles Walgreen, Jr, a 1938 U of M graduate, for the construction of a drama complex that would include the theatre.
The 280-seat theatre is the most public component of the Charles R. Walgreen, Jr Drama Center. The theatre room is configured as a courtyard format theatre to showcase both professional and student productions. Designed for proscenium productions and able to accommodate an orchestra of up to 16 players, the space will more often be set up in a wide thrust stage configuration with seating on three sides.
Acoustically, the theatre room is designed principally for the spoken word and derives its raw but warm sensibility from the concrete box that encases it.
The Center and Theatre were designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna and Blumberg Associates of Toronto.
In the News
- U-M unveils latest cultural jewel: Arthur Miller Theatre (March, 2007)