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Weidner Center for the Performing Arts
WeidnerCenterMainEntranceMay2007.jpg
Address 2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, Wisconsin
United States
Coordinates 44°31′59″N 87°55′22″W / 44.532992°N 87.922841°W / 44.532992; -87.922841Coordinates: 44°31′59″N 87°55′22″W / 44.532992°N 87.922841°W / 44.532992; -87.922841
Owner University of Wisconsin–Green Bay
Type Performing arts center
Capacity 2,021
Opened January 15, 1993 (1993-01-15)

The Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, also known as the WCPA or Weidner Center is a performing arts center in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay campus. Named after the university's first chancellor, Edward Weidner, the venue opened January 15, 1993.

History

The Weidner Center's original gift came from surgeon David A. Cofrin (son of Austin E. Cofrin and namesake of UW-Green Bay's library) with the stipulation that the center be located on the UW-Green Bay campus and that it serve the community. The university used state funds for the project as the original plan for UW-Green Bay's campus included a performing arts center. Namesake chancellor Weidner began a fundraising campaign in the late 1980s that raised the remainder of the $18.4 million required for the building. The university calls the Weidner Center a "'comm-university' center, supported by both the university and the communities of northeastern Wisconsin".

1998 expansion

For the Weidner Center's fifth anniversary, donations from the Cofrin family financed an expansion that included a new black-box theatre named Studio Two, later renamed the Jean Weidner Theatre in honor of Ed Weidner's wife. The renovation also expanded the ticket office, added more lobby restrooms, expanded backstage storage and dressing room space, constructed a semi-private dining area and food service elevator, and relocated the Weidner Center's administrative offices.

Facilities

Cofrin Family Hall

Cofrin Family Hall is the Weidner Center's main performance facility, seating 2,021 over three levels of seating. The capacity of Cofrin Family Hall depends on the type of performance, as the Weidner Center's two-section motorized thrust stage can be lowered and fitted with extra seats, typically for dramatic performances. Symphonic and other music-only performances routinely use the entire thrust. Cofrin Family Hall also contains a large pipe organ, the Wood Family Organ, built for the Weidner Center's acoustics. Nearly all of the Weidner Center's touring acts perform in Cofrin Family Hall, with eclectic programming that includes concerts, comedians, Broadway shows, children's programming, and more. UW-Green Bay holds its winter graduations in Cofrin Family Hall.

The UWGB Music department's Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, University Singers, and Concert Choir all perform two concerts per semester in Cofrin Family Hall, and the department's annual JazzFest takes place in Cofrin Family Hall in the spring.

The UWGB Theatre department performs in Cofrin Family Hall occasionally, putting on Cabaret in 2011. It performed another musical there in fall 2015 and participated in the Weidner Center's Stage Door educational theatre series in spring 2016 and 2017.

Fort Howard Hall

Fort Howard Hall, named for the Fort Howard Paper Company founded by donor Austin E. Cofrin, is a recital hall. It seats 200 in retractable theatre-style seating, and can seat 136 in a banquet-style setting. The room is used for receptions and pre-show dinners. The UWGB Music department is the most frequent academic user of the space, and holds its Student Honors Recital and several guest artist concerts and lectures there annually.

Studio One

Built in the style of a dance studio with mirrors and marley dance floor, Studio One is rarely used for its intended purpose, instead serving as a multipurpose space for the Weidner Center, and a reception area/backstage storage for the UWGB Theatre department when it is performing in the Jean Weidner Theatre.

Jean Weidner Theatre

Built in the 1998 renovation and originally called Studio Two, the space was renamed the Jean Weidner Theatre after Edward Weidner's wife. Jean Weidner Theatre is a black-box style theatre that seats 90 in either a standard theatre style or a theatre in the round arrangement. Although it is part of the Weidner Center, the UWGB Theatre department oversees the space and is its primary user. The UWGB Music department holds most of its student recitals in the space, along with its Opera/Musical Theatre workshop.

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