Strayer-Wood Theatre is the home of the Department of Theatre and its production program.
Containing two theatres (the Strayer-Wood and the Bertha Martin) and support spaces such as the Phelps Acting Practice Room/Light Lab, fully equipped scenic and costume studios, design and computer labs, and dressing rooms, greenroom, library and more, Strayer-Wood Theatre has everything a student could need to learn in a professional theatre setting.
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About Strayer-Wood Theatre
The main stage of the Strayer-Wood Theatre shares its name with the theatre building: the Strayer-Wood Theatre. The house contains more than 400 fixed seats and over 250 movable seats.
The mixture of fixed and movable seating allows the stage to be used in a variety of configurations, including thrust, proscenium, and arena. Our orchestra pit on the lower level contains a lift that can be raised to the stage level and lowered to the basement, and the stage has five stage traps and a generous proscenium opening.
Strayer-Wood is also equipped with a state-of-the-art lighting package and a steadily growing inventory of 200+ lighting instruments. A complete audio and sound effects system in the Strayer-Wood includes a 32-channel mixer, digital audio workstation, and wireless capabilities.
About Bertha Martin Theatre
The Bertha Martin Theatre (BMT) is a 50' x 50' black box theatre with a flexible seating capacity up to 150. In recent years, this highly versatile space has been used in arena, thrust, alley, and proscenium stage arrangements.
The BMT is equipped with a matrix of catwalks, 60 dimmers, and full access to DMX and Ethernet for lighting. An ETC Expression computerized board rounds out the lighting package. There is a 16 channel sound console with a stand alone Digital Audio Workstation.
About the Phelps Acting Practice Room
The Phelps Acting Practice Room (APR), located in the basement of the Strayer-Wood Theatre, serves as a classroom, performance space and lighting laboratory.
The APR is the primary classroom for the department's voice, movement and acting coursework as well as workshops and presentations. The APR is often used as a warm-up space for actors supporting main stage productions and a rehearsal and performance space for student productions.
As a lighting design lab, the APR provides a space in which students gain hands-on experience in hanging and focusing lighting instruments as well as fully executing lighting projects.
History of Strayer-Wood Theatre
The building was the first constructed in the Speech/Art Complex that would eventually include the Communication Arts Center and the Kamerick Art Building. Ground was broken on October 6, 1975, for this $4.5 million building. It was completed in 1978, and the grand opening gala included a production of Cyrano de Bergerac, directed by D. Terry Williams, the director of theatre at the time.
The building's design began as a focus for a thesis by Richard Devin, a former UNI theatre student. Architects Brown-Healey and Bock of Cedar Rapids then made alterations and additions to Devin's ideas. Unlike most UNI buildings, the theatre was named early in the building process. In 1975, it was officially named the Strayer-Wood Theatre after two influential theater faculty members, Hazel B. Strayer and Stanley G. Wood. Hazel B. Strayer established a full-scale theater program at UNI; she led the program from 1929 through 1956. Stanley G. Wood, Strayer's successor, was director of the program from 1956 through 1972.