The Salt Lake Theatre

The Salt Lake Theatre

The original pioneers had an affinity for live theatre, performing in Nauvoo, Illinois, before settling down in Utah. Deseret Musical and Dramatic Association was soon formed, allowing community members to share in a little bit of drama. As years passed, other companies emerged which prompted Brigham Young to begin excavations on a first-class theatre on the corner of 100 South and State Street. Construction on the Salt Lake Theatre began in 1861 and finished in March of 1862 being the largest building at the time.

The theatre quickly gained prominence in Utah with more and more theatre companies being established. But after World War I the motion picture business was extremely popular, the Salt Lake Theatre was in debt. Hebert J. Grant sold the theatre to a company and the theatre was demolished in 1928.

What did survive was the educational aspect of the theatre. Many colleges and universities still put on productions and with the help of Dr. C. Lowell Lees, Maud May Babcock, Lila Eccles Brimhall, and Keith M. Engar they were able to promote a theatre on the University of Utah campus which is now the Pioneer Memorial Theatre.