(Hallie Flanagan-Davis Powerhouse Theater) Powerhouse Mainstage Productions and workshops are held in the 145-seat Powerhouse Theater. The black box theater takes its name from the building’s former life, as the College’s actual powerhouse, built in 1912 to accommodate Vassar’s changeover from gas to electric power. In 1973, the original structure was reinvented and renamed the Hallie Flanagan Davis Powerhouse Theater, in memory of the legendary dramatist who created the Experimental Theater at Vassar in the early 20th century. A little more than a decade later, in 1985, the theater housed the first Powerhouse Theater Season.
Across the quadrangle from the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film lies the Hallie Flanagan Davis Powerhouse Theater. In 1973, the powerhouse of the College’s old heating plant, which had not been used for its original purpose since 1955, was the first of several neighboring utility buildings to be adaptively re-used when it opened as the Powerhouse Theater. The building was transformed into the Powerhouse by Robertson Ward Jr., and today hosts many student productions, as well as the renowned Powerhouse Summer Theater program in its incredibly flexible black box performance space. A series of risers make it possible to arrange the seating in the space in dozens of configurations. With a limited trap, a flexible lighting grid, a fly system, and curtains that are able to encircle the space, the room is a theatrical playground. This theater has hosted experimental productions of Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, Ibsen, and the work of contemporary playwrights like Tony Kushner and Charles Mee.