Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall is the main performing arts complex on the campus of the College of William & Mary. Completed in 1956, it replaced Phi Beta Kappa Hall, the original theatre building that burned in December of 1953, now rebuilt as Ewell Hall. The building was named in honor of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the first national academic honor society, which was founded by William & Mary students in 1776.
PBK Memorial Hall houses classrooms and offices for the Department of Theatre, Speech, and Dance. It is an academic building whose production spaces provide classrooms and laboratories for the curricular programs of the department including three performance venues and the scenic and costume shops.
The building also houses a reception and meeting room, and the chapter room and office for Alpha Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. When it was built, PBK Memorial Hall was called "the best equipped, non-professional playhouse in America" and is still today one of the finest theatre facilities in the region.
Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall will be undergoing major renovations beginning May 2018. During renovations, the Department of Theatre, Speech & Dance will relocate to office space in Morton Hall; while performances and the box office will be housed at the historic Kimball Theatre on Duke of Gloucester St. (in downtown Williamsburg).
Main Stage Theatre
The Main Stage Theatre has a modified proscenium stage and seats 763 on the main floor and balcony. It is the main laboratory in which students practice their skills in theatre and dance production.
The Main Stage Theatre also provides a formal performance space for the Department of Music and other University-sponsored concerts. University ceremonies, convocations, and lectures are regularly held in the theatre, as well as performances by student organizations and area symphony orchestras and dance companies. PBK Memorial Hall was the site of the 1976 Presidential Debate between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford and the Democratic Party Debate of the 1982 presidential campaign.
The Studio Theatre is a flexible performance space, a "black box theatre", equipped with portable audience risers that may be assembled in different configurations. In the standard semi-thrust arrangement, the theatre seats 109. The Studio Theatre is the main classroom and laboratory for the Theatre Program's acting and directing classes and is the primary rehearsal space for the Department's Main Stage productions. It is also the main performance venue and rehearsal space for smaller or experimental productions directed by faculty, selected senior-level students, and for acting and directing class projects.
The Lab Theatre is a small flexible-space theatre well suited for small cast or monodrama presentations. It is a lecture classroom and is also utilized for acting classes.
Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall contains a well-designed carpentry shop for the construction and painting of scenery and properties. The shop has the capability of wood construction, metalwork, and plastics fabrication.
Computer Design and Drafting Lab
Through the generosity of an alumna, the department maintains a small design and drafting laboratory in the former projection room above the rear of the Main Stage balcony.
The drafting lab area also houses a lighting laboratory for experimentation with lighting angle and color.
The costume shop includes facilities for cutting and draping, machine and hand-sewing, material dying, laundry and storage for stock material.