This Week in Queen Anne History

ACT: A Contemporary Theatre staged its inaugural play, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad on June 29, 1965.  The performance took place in the  quickly-renovated Queen Anne Hall building at 100 W Roy Street, built as Redding Hall in 1912.  The critically-acclaimed performance ran through July 10th and marked the birth of an enduring Seattle artistic institution.

ACT Theatre, 1st Ave W and W Roy St, pictured in 1980

ACT was the brainchild of University of Washington School of Drama Director Gregory Falls (1922-1997) and his wife, Jean Burch Falls (1926-2020).  Falls felt that Seattle needed a theater to stage plays that “reflect our times,” eschewing the classics performed at traditional theaters.  The Falls acquired the  building and oversaw its conversion into an intimate 420-seat theater in just four months.

ACT moved to its current location, Kreielsheimer Place, in 1996 , following a $30.4 million renovation of the former Eagles Auditorium at 700 Union Street.  The curtain didn’t stay closed in the old Queen Anne Hall for long; in 1998, On the Boards moved in to the building, now known as the Behnke Center for Contemporary Performance.

Reference: City of Seattle historical site summary