Hale Center Theatre Opens a New World-Class Performance Facility
My connection to Hale Centre Theatre dates back over 30 years to the theater’s original home in a renovated lingerie factory in South Salt Lake. It was there in 1987 that my wife, Holly, (who I did not know at the time) first performed in one of Ruth Hale’s original shows, “Dancing for Joy,” with music written by Sally Dietlein.
This experience, and subsequent experiences on the Hale Centre Theatre stage, helped shape Holly’s love of music, dance and theater. In a very literal way, the theater along with her faith, became the foundation of her young life.
Fast forward nearly 15 years to Grandma Hale’s final year with us. Grandma (we call her that even though we have no familial relationship) was living in the Legacy Retirement Center in South Jordan, Utah, just a few miles from the new home of Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy. Each week, Holly would visit Ruth. They would rehearse lines and sing songs together. Reading from a script, Holly would play the role of every character in the play except for the role written for Ruth.
You see, even at the age of 93, Ruth was preparing herself for her next role. If she missed one of her lines or forgot a cue, Holly would correct her and Grandma would try it again. Ruth wanted to be certain she was ready for her next opportunity on stage.
Ruth Hale passed away peacefully on Easter morning, April 20, 2003.
A few weeks ago, I stood at the podium as the chair of the Hale Centre Theatre Board of Trustees, and welcomed more than 900 dignitaries and theater enthusiasts to the new 133,306-square foot home of Hale Centre Theatre.
Standing there, I thought of Ruth. I’m not sure even she could have dreamed of what the vision she and Nathan had so many years ago would become: A theater that will host more than 700 annual performances, welcome hundreds of thousands of patrons each year, pay more than 300 local actors each year for their performances, and employ a full-time staff of 48 and a part-time staff of 147 artisans, technicians, designers and creative builders.
Grandma Hale was a masterful playwright, and like one of her masterpieces, the story of this new theater has had plot twists, character complexities and challenges that have worked their way to resolution. And now, the new theater stands like no other in the world.
In this issue of Community, Deanna Devey takes us inside this new world-class performance facility, which features two stages including the one-of-a-kind, technologically advanced Centre Stage and the unique Sorenson Legacy Jewel Box Stage.
More than 150 years ago, one of the early settlers of the Utah Territory said, “A community that fosters and supports the arts shows to the world that we have talent and taste, and proves to the heavens that our minds are set on beauty and true excellence, and readies us to enjoy the society of angels.”
This is the mission of Hale Centre Theatre. And while Ruth and Nathan Hale already enjoy the society of angels, the vision they started 32 years ago is preparing us all for the same.
Enjoy the show.
Executive Vice President
Corporate Marketing and Communications