Greek Theatre Berkely Information
The William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, known locally as simply the Greek Theatre, is an 8,500-seat amphitheater owned and operated by the University of California, Berkeley.
The ancient style of the theather is based directly on the ancient Greek theater of Epidaurus. The venue is fast becoming the number 1 outdoor theater to experience some of the Biggest names in music. Each year the Greek Theater is used by students to host various events and achievements including The Berkeley Jazz Festival, pop, rock, and world music concerts, UC Berkeley graduation ceremonies, occasional addresses by noted speakers.
Overlooking the University of California, Berkeley campus, you’ll discover the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre – a picturesque haven for experiencing concerts by renowned musicians in an unparalleled open-air setting.
Throughout generations, the theater has been recognized as a Berkeley Landmark and is currently on the National Register of Historic Places. The venue is officially managed by UC Berkeley but also has various private promoters that bring the most in-demand shows to the theater without fail.
THE FAMED HISTORY OF THE WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST GREEK THEATRE
The Greek Theatre officially opened its doors on September 24, 1903, with a student production of Aristophanes’ “The Birds.” Interestingly, even before its completion in May 1903, the theater hosted a graduation ceremony graced by President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a close friend of Wheeler, the project’s visionary, from their New York days.
Throughout its storied existence, the Greek Theatre has witnessed countless performances by a diverse array of musical and theatrical artists. Additionally, it has served as the backdrop for the spirited Bonfire Rally preceding the annual Big Game against Stanford. The Greek has also been the site for significant occasions like Charter Day ceremonies and the inaugurations of University of California presidents and Berkeley chancellors, although some exceptions exist, such as the 1962 Charter Day ceremony, which accommodated President John F. Kennedy’s address at California Memorial Stadium due to its larger capacity.
In 1967, a significant moment in the theater’s history unfolded when The Grateful Dead took the stage at the Greek for the very first time. Their electrifying performance marked the beginning of a prolific era, with the band returning for a total of 29 concerts by 1989. In 2004, Another Planet Entertainment took on the role of the exclusive concert promoter for the Greek Theatre, marking another chapter in its rich history.
100 YEARS OF CELEBRATED ARCHITECTURE
Referred to as “The Greek” by most, the theater’s complete name pays homage to the illustrious magnate and newspaper tycoon famous for generously funding the venue’s construction and other finances. The design of The Greek is credited to the renowned architect John Galen Howard, who also played a pivotal role in creating other prominent campus landmarks such as the University Library and Sather Gate.
Encircled by solid eucalyptus trees and columns, this Greek Revival gem offers breathtaking vistas of iconic campus landmarks, including the Sather Tower campanile. Its panoramic views extend beyond Berkeley, encompassing the stunning backdrop of San Francisco Bay and the distant Golden Gate Bridge.
Assisting Howard in this architectural masterpiece was Julia Morgan, an innovative and remarkably prolific architect responsible for over 700 buildings in California, including the iconic Hearst Castle and the Berkeley City Club. Located approximately a mile from The Greek, the Berkeley City Club offers a hotel and restaurant, both named in honor of Julia Morgan. These establishments are open to the public, welcoming visitors to experience the legacy of this pioneering architect.
OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY
The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), is a prestigious public research university founded in 1868. Part of the University of California system, the establishment ranks among the top universities in the entire United States. Its well-known campus covers approximately 1,232 acres and possesses a world-class faculty of numerous Nobel laureates and Fields Medalists.
The ownership of the Greek Theatre by the University of California, Berkeley, is a source of pride and cultural significance for both the university and the wider Berkeley community. This majestic outdoor venue has been under the university’s stewardship for decades, and it symbolizes a commitment to fostering artistic expression, education, and community engagement.
Furthermore, The Greek’s affiliation reflects the university’s dedication to the arts, providing a platform for students, faculty, and talented individuals to showcase how academic excellence meets creativity.
TOP TIER SOUND SYSTEMS AND STAGING TECHNOLOGY
When hosting an event at the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, there’s no better choice for audio equipment than UltraSound. For the past decades, the venue has been known to consistently rely on UltraSound as its trusted and official audio gear supplier, delivering the cleanest acoustics that are truly unmatched.
With a reputation for delivering custom solutions, PA system setups, and board groups tailored to each event’s unique needs, UltraSound has become an indispensable partner to other music halls as well. Their expertise in live sound and unwavering commitment to on-site technical support make them the go-to choice, ensuring that every performance at The Greek sounds its best and goes off without a hitch.