College of Fine Arts and Design
History of Mitchell Hall
Mitchell Hall, UCO’s center for the performing arts, was the first of three auditoriums designed by the architectural firm of Layton & Smith in Central Oklahoma and built by Homboe Construction Company (the other two are at Oklahoma City University and Oklahoma Baptist University).The building, dedicated in June 29, 1926, was built at a cost of $130,000 and was named in honor of Central’s president at the time, John G. Mitchell.
In the years since, the theater has been the home to a variety of campus performing groups ranging from The Blue Curtain Players and The Orchesis Dancers in the early years to today’s performing arts programs. The university’s Broadway Tonight series has hosted national tours of musicals and performers including Tommy Tune, Carol Channing, Savion Glover, Shirley Jones, and the award winning dance troupe Pilobolus. Summertime brings the Annual Summer Ice Cream and Watermelon Band Festival held on the front lawn of the theatre.
On the theater’s interior walls, beneath layers of paint, are murals commissioned in 1934 by the Public Works of Art Project which were painted by the famous Pawnee-Creek artist, Acee Blue Eagle.
The building has undergone a series of renovations over the years including the installation of cushioned theater seating, carpeting, modern restrooms, lighting and sound system upgrades, and, on the building’s sixtieth anniversary, central heat and air conditioning were added for the first time ever. The scene shop, crossover/storage, dressing rooms and multipurpose additions added approximately 5000 square feet to the facility in 1997.
To cultivate thriving performing arts venues, which are essential to the education and professional development of the students of the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Central Oklahoma.