Ken Stevens, Director of "The 39 Steps" , was the head of the 1980's campaign to build the Sponberg Theatre from the ground up and has produced countless performances within the space since. All it took was a little bit of hard-work, some celebrity power, and one helicopter...
- Dr. Harold E. Sponberg is President of EMU and heads the initiative to create scholarships for the arts.
- EMU Forensics Team wins National Championship ('73, '75, '76, '77, '78, '79).
- Ken Stevens and his pal, Bob McElya, joked about putting a bubble over the outdoor performance space to create a Garden Theatre.
- John Porter becomes President of EMU and sends out a call for proposals for capital campaigns at EMU.
- Ken writes proposal for Sponberg Theatre - a 200 seat facility that could be used to extend EMU Theatre programming, hold national Forensics competitions, and other campus events.
- A firm in Chicago deems Sponberg Theatre as the campaign that is most likely to succeed.
- The Department Head of the Communication and Theatre Arts Department, Dennis Beagen, backs the project along with Porter.
- Ken is asked to head the campaign.
- Ken seeks to secure the project with large donors before taking the project public.
- Enough funds are secured to make the campaign public.
- Carol Channing agrees to announce the campaign to the public ONLY if she can be flown to EMU by helicopter.
- Ken meets Carol on COBO Roof, takes a helicopter to EMU, and lands where our current Student Center is located.
- Carol announces the campaign and buys the first two chairs of Sponberg Theatre.
- Enough funds are raised to break ground.
- Ground is broken.
- On June 1st, Ken Stevens will present The 39 Steps in the Sponberg Theatre.
- Ken talks about his love for the space, "It's open, the size is right, and there is a sense of intimacy. You can do a range of productions. As a director, it is always a challenge to find a way to do a show in an unorthodox setting
Past productions that have taken place in Sponberg:
Into the Woods, Brecht on Brecht, Little Me, Dead Man's Cell Phone, and many many more.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY IN THE SPONBERG THEATRE BY LEAVING A COMMENT BELOW!