320 West Kinnear Place: Matzen Residence

The Matzen residence at 320 West Kinnear Place was constructed in 1910 – 1911.  George Matzen was the owner and president of Matzen Manufacturing Company, a clothing manufacturer in Pioneer Square.  He and his wife Irene occupied the house on the south slope of Queen Anne from 1910 until sometime in the 1930s.  …Continue reading “320 West Kinnear Place: Matzen Residence”

Arne & Claire Zaslove

Queen Anne residents Arne and Claire Zaslove have made significant contributions to Seattle’s cultural and theatrical vitality.

Born and raised in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, Arne Zaslove studied at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh beginning in 1957, and received a Fulbright scholarship to support his theatrical studies in Paris, France 1964-66 — the first American ever to study at Ecole Jacques Lecoq.

He moved to Seattle in 1967 to begin his service on the faculty of the University of Washington School of Drama, and established the Floating Theatre Company, performing at venues throughout Seattle.  He also taught at the National Theatre School of Canada 1972-74. From 1974-76, Seattle Repertory Theatre employed him as Associate Artistic Director.  Arne introduced Seattle audiences to new works from emerging playwrights of the time including Max Frisch, Robert Lowell, Michael Ondaatje, and Tom Stoppard.  …Continue reading “Arne & Claire Zaslove”

Jean Burch Falls, Theatre Originator

Jean Falls, 2016

Jean Burch Falls worked with her husband Gregory Falls (1922-1997) in the origination of ACTA Contemporary Theatre — in 1965.  ACT produced notable performances in the historic Redding Building, also known as Queen Anne Hall & more recently Behnke Center and home to On the Boards, at 100 West Roy.  Later ACT restored Eagles Auditorium, relocating to downtown Seattle in 1996.  ACT introduced to Seattle works by such contemporary playwrights as David Mamet, Sam Shepard, and Tom Stoppard, and cultivated a community of actors and theatre workers.

Born and raised in New York City, Jean Burch graduated from Manhattan’s Brearley School in 1942 after attending boarding schools in Virginia and Lausanne, Switzerland.  Despite her family’s objections, she studied drama in college, first at Bryn Mawr and then at Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.  In 1943, she started to fly planes, hoping to join the WASPs – Women’s Auxiliary Service Patrol.  However, the war in Europe ended before she reached the age when she could serve.  After a first marriage and the birth of two sons, she began pre-med studies at the University of Vermont – while also directing and acting in community theatre.  There she met and married Greg Falls, Director of the University of Vermont Drama Department, and her dramatic activities intensified.

In 1961, the University of Washington appointed Greg Falls as Executive Director of the School of Drama, and the Falls family – now including two daughters — moved to Seattle.  Jean performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Green Lake Aqua Theatre.  After a couple of years, Jean and Greg began to look for a space to open a contemporary summer theatre, to complement the two-year-old Seattle Repertory Theatre that staged classic plays during the winter. This led to the 1965 opening of ACT at its original Queen Anne location on West Roy.  Jean notes that Jim Whittaker the first American to summit Mt. Everest and an originator of REI – had used the Redding Building as a staging area.

In 1974, Jean began to write lyrics, often in collaboration with composer Rob Duisberg. Her work has included lyrics for performances at ACT, Empty Space, and Issaquah’s Village Theatre.  In 1999, she performed her final stage role in a production of Margaret Edson’s WIT at Seattle Repertory Theatre.  She also travelled with the show to theatres in Houston, Phoenix, and Tucson.

Stewart Ballinger, Greg and Jean Falls at ACT’s 20th anniversary celebration in the Rainier Tower, May 1, 1984 (courtesy ACT)

Jean’s civic roles have included activism in the late-1960s fight to save the Pike Place Market, culminating in her service on the first Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority/PDA.  There she played an instrumental role in establishing the Pike Place Market Foundation, originated in 1981-82. In 1975-81, she served on the Seattle Center Advisory Commission.

Jean has resided on Queen Anne since 2007.