Gonzaga unveils 52,000-square-foot Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center

SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University is unveiling its new 52,000-square-foot Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center.

The school received a $55 million gift for students scholarships and construction of the performing arts center from local philanthropist Myrtle Woldson, who died in 2014 at the age of 104. The gift was the largest in Gonzaga’s history.

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Thirty million dollars of Woldson’s gift was used to build the two-story performing arts center.

Fourteen students in the first class of the endowed Woldson Scholars program began this academic year. The scholarship is awarded for academic achievement, community involvement and leadership.

There was talk about the facility for years but the money was not available until Woldson’s donation.

The Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center features a 759-seat performance theater and concert hall named after Fr. Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J. The theater’s orchestra pit can be converted to a stage-apron extension that can accommodate 32 musicians for larger performances.

A smaller recital hall with 168 seats will host performances, rehearsal, classes and other events. One wall of the Martin Edwidge Woldson Recital hall is also made of panels that pivot to become dance-rehearsal mirrors.

The entire building offers sweeping views of the Spokane River and areas of campus – including St. Aloysius Church – from many of its windows.

Another area of the performing arts center pays tribute to Woldson herself. The Myrtle Woldson Collection, situated on the center’s second-floor lobby, features replicas of the living, dining and sitting rooms. Those rooms feature display furniture, art and décor collected through her life and travels.

The Myrtle Woldson Collection will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in addition to performance dates and times.

First performance at Myrtle Woldson PAC

The performing arts center will open its door to the public on Thursday, April 25 with Gonzaga’s production of “A New Season: A Celebration of Artistry, Place, and Potential.”

The production is a combination of music, dance and theatre in what organizers call a “multisensory tour through the seasons.” It features 29 dancers, 41 poets, 63 singers and 31 orchestral players.

The local Washington poetry featured in the production is set to music from composer Alec Roth’s 2012 composition “A Time to Dance.”

Rehearsals with the Gonzaga Repertory Dance Company began in September 2018, with two more dance ensembles and an acting ensemble joining the process. Five soloists were selected from the Gonzaga Concert Choir.

Performances are April 25 at 7:30 p.m. and April 27-28 at 2 p.m.

Tickets range from $50 to $75 for the gala opening, with $25 tickets for students. The weekend matinee tickets range from $25 to $50, with $15 student tickets.

Those interested in ordering tickets can do so online or by calling the Box Office at 509-313-2787 from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Bernard Coughlin Theater.

The Choral College Concert will take place in the Coughlin Theater on Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. and the Gonzaga Wind Ensemble’s concert will take place later that day at 7 p.m.

Other upcoming performances

During the performing arts center’s opening week, multiple Gonzaga ensembles will present other concerts in the Mainstage and on the outdoor patio.

Spring Jazz on the Plaza will take place Sunday, April 28 at 12:30 p.m. on the outdoor patio.

The Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist winners will play at 7:30 p.m. on April 29 in the Bernard Coughlin Theater.

Gonzaga’s Annual Spring Dance Concert will take place in the theater Friday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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