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Outdoor amphitheatre overlooking Lake Matoaka
Matoaka Theatre
Constructed: 1934
Dedication: October 20, 1934
Map it for me

The Matoaka Theatre was located in Matoaka Park at William & Mary on the first trail coming down from Jamestown Road (Loop Trail). Work began in 1934. "The approach to the theatre is by a long avenue, which has been referred to as 'Players Dell.' It arises from a large, very slight circle, which might be compared with a lobby." The work was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The stage was 40' wide and 30' long with split log seats seating 500 people and dressing rooms. It was dedicated on October 20, 1934 as part of the opening of Matoaka Park and the inauguration of President John Stewart Bryan. The Loop Trail begins and ends on Landrum Drive (formerly Old Campus Drive). Leaving the road trail runs straight through avenue of towering pines for nearly 1000 feet before coming to the Circle, which is 100 feet in diameter. Player's Dell is also located near the Circle. (Daily Press article of Matoaka Park, in "Buildings & Grounds--Lake Matoaka and Matoaka Woods," University Archives Subject File Collection; Blueprints in "A General Plan of Unification for Campus and Matoaka Park," February 14, 1934 in Accession 1988.60; survey map of Matoaka Park and Forest in Accession 1988.47.)

The Matoaka Theatre followed Players' Dell and preceded the Lake Matoaka Amphitheater.

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

  • Flat Hat, 3/27/1934, p. 1-2; will be called Player's Dell, an amphitheater 5/8/1934, p. 2; 10/9/1934, p. 1; 10/23/1934, p. 4; 4/22/1947, p. 1; 4/24/1964, aerial photo on p. 2
  • Colonial Echo, 1935.
  • University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.
  • University Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.

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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.