February 17, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 07
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Monday, Mar 08, 2021



Seattle has a bright new venue for the arts
Seattle has a bright new venue for the arts
Empty Space will be the theatre-in-residence

by E. Joyce Glasgow - SGN A&E Writer

Seattle has an exciting new arts venue. Seattle University opened its new Lee Center for the Arts with a celebration on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.

Named for Jeanne Marie and Rhoady Lee Jr., both alumni and active in the S.U. community, the new 3000 square foot space received its $6.75 million dollar funding from their family members, other private donors and foundations.

The space boasts a 1400 sq. ft. art gallery, visible through the 50 foot wall of plate glass along 12th Avenue at Marion Street. The 150 seat studio theatre features state of the art lighting and sound technology. The seating is flexible and can be changed to "in the round," "three sided," or "procenium" configuration. The catwalk above is accessible to actors and can be used for entrances and exits to the stage area.

The new center is the first building at S.U. to face the street and is a symbol of S.U.'s commitment to reaching out and engaging the public to participate in events at the university.

Steven V. Sundborg, S. J., S.U. President, said he was excited about interacting more with the neighborhoods surrounding the university.

The most exciting news of all is that S.U. the beloved Empty Space Theatre to be the theatre-in-residence, bringing the Empty Space full circle on its long migration back to the place of its beginnings on Capitol Hill. The Empty Space will bring 20-25,000 audience members a year to the space and will incorporate drama students from S.U. into its productions, giving students the opportunity to get experience working with a professional theatre.

Melanie Mathews, managing director of the Empty Space Theatre, said that the theatre has been warmly welcomed by S.U. and they feel very much a part of the university community. She said that the 150 seat theatre allows for the continued intimacy they enjoy with their audiences and being in a more affordable space will allow them to put more money into their productions.

Empty Space will offer three productions at the Lee Center in 2006, starting with "Bust," a commissioned one-woman show by actress/comedian Lauren Weedman. The show will run June 23rd through August 5.

S.U. is committed to expanding their theatre department and has re-initiated the jazz department. Clarence Acox, known for guiding Garfield High's Jazz Orchestra to national award-winning prominence, will also be teaching in S.U.'s jazz department.

Some well known local artists who are teaching in the theatre department are actors Matt Smith, John Procaccino, Christian Swenson, Ki Gottberg, dancer and choreographer Maureen Whiting, African drummer Ibrahima Camara, and sound designer Jim Ragland.

The photography department is working in conjunction with Photographic Center Northwest, which is across the street from S.U. Claire Garoutte, a photography faculty member, is overseeing the collaboration.

Currently, the art gallery is featuring art from the center's donors' collections through May. The exhibition includes one piece each from Kenneth Callahan, Marc Chagall, Nina Mikhailenko, Anthony Quinn, Robert Rauschenberg and Cindy Sherman.

For more information about the Lee Center, call Steve Galatro at 206-296-5360 or visit:

For more information about the Empty Space Theatre, call their box office at 206-547-7500 or visit their website at:

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