Music venues in Berkeley

Hearst Greek Theatre

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The William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, known locally as simply the Greek Theatre, is an 8,500-seat amphitheater owned and operated by the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, USA.

The Greek Theatre hosts The Berkeley Jazz Festival, pop, rock, and world music concerts, UC Berkeley graduation ceremonies, occasional addresses by noted speakers, and other events. Past speakers include President Theodore Roosevelt, William Randolph Hearst, and the Dalai Lama.

History

The Hearst Greek Theater was built in 1903 on the site of a rough outdoor bowl already in use as an amphitheater since 1894 known as "Ben Weed's Amphitheater". The project was championed by University of California president Benjamin Ide Wheeler and was the first University building designed by John Galen Howard. Its construction was financed by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, after whom it was named. The design of the theater is based directly on the ancient Greek theater of Epidaurus.

It officially opened on September 24, 1903 with a student production of The Birds by Aristophanes. However, while still under construction in May 1903, the theatre hosted a graduation ceremony with an address by President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a friend of Wheeler's from New York.

In 1957, a basement backstage area was added, which was designed by Ernest Born. It includes a large plaza flanked by two stage-level constructions.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Over the years, the Greek Theatre has seen performances from hundreds of musical and theatrical artists. The Greek has also long been the venue for a number of annual UC Berkeley events including departmental graduation ceremonies, the Commencement Convocation for graduating seniors, and the Big Game Bonfire Rally before the Big Game each year with Stanford. Charter Day ceremonies and inaugurations of University of California presidents and Berkeley chancellors have been held in the Greek Theatre. Berkeley High school also uses the Greek Theatre for their graduation ceremonies.

Another Planet Entertainment became the exclusive concert promoter at the Greek in 2004.

In May 2012, a seismic retrofit and expansion was completed by Overaa Construction. Four new reinforced concrete columns were added and concealed in the original structure.

See also

  • List of contemporary amphitheatres
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Cal
10 April 2012
Although the Greek Theater opened in 1903, it had been a favorite outdoor spot since 1894. The name? Ben Weed's Amphitheater.
ScottySauce
15 August 2011
This is by far one of the sexiest places to see a show in the Bay Area. The sound, lighting and crowd make it all a very enjoyable and intimate experience.
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Location
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Address

2001 Gayley Rd, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

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Open hours
Mon None
Tue 6:00 PM–8:00 PM
Wed 7:00 PM–8:00 PM
Thu 6:00 PM–9:00 PM
Fri-Sat 5:00 PM–11:00 PM
References

William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre on Foursquare

Hearst Greek Theatre on Facebook

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