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History of Theater in Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Besides the Salt Lake Theater, other important theaters in the early years of the century were the Colonial, the Garrick, the Grand, the Orpheum, the Empress, and the Princess. The Grand Theater, in downtown Salt Lake City, presented stock and variety shows. Later it was renamed the Hippodrome and was used as a sports arena before it was destroyed by fire in the 1920s. The Empress, later called the Uptown, was built in 1911 at 53 South Main Street. Top-quality vaudeville was introduced to Utah with the opening of the Orpheum Theater at 132 South State on Christmas Day 1905. Designed by C.M. Neuhausen, the theater was opulently decorated and became a center for legitimate theater in Salt Lake City for many years.

Despite the number of professional theaters, there was no professional community troupe, a deficit Maud May Babcock longed to correct. In the summer of 1915 she formed the Utah Players Stock Company, which performed in the Utah Theater. Though much fanfare attended the opening night performance with the LDS Church authorities, the governor, and the mayor present, the venture failed financially and the company disbanded.

The University of Utah still did not have a theater on campus for its dramatic activities. In 1916 the assembly room of the Museum Building was made into a small theater, and play-production classes were organized for teaching directing and acting. Babcock still wanted to foster a university/community theater, and so she and her Varsity Players used the old Social Hall as a Little Theater for the university from 1918 until 1921, when the city condemned it as unsafe.


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