Curtain Up

The U’s Einar Nielsen Field House has gotten a major upgrade—but this time it’s big news for artists, not athletes. Originally opened in 1939, the field house was home to U athletics and recreation for decades. It’s where adoring crowds cheered on the Runnin’ Utes until 1969 when the Huntsman Center opened its doors, and the campus community lifted weights and played tennis within its walls until the Student Life Center debuted in 2015.

Now, thanks to a major gift from the Meldrum Foundation, it has been retrofitted into a 387-seat venue shared by the U Department of Theatre and Pioneer Theatre Company. The Meldrum Theatre opened in spring 2024.

“When I first joined Pioneer Theatre Company in 2012, the Board of Trustees asked what my dream items were. At the top of the list was a more intimate space to better produce contemporary works with smaller casts,” says PTC Artistic Director Karen Azenberg. “The physical space between actor and audience is breathtakingly close. It’s going to create groundbreaking theater moments not only for PTC and the U’s Theatre Department, but for the U and Salt Lake City at large.”


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