The Forest Theatre is a stone amphitheater structure built into the hillside on the eastern edge of the UNC-Chapel Hill campus and contiguous with Battle Park. Outdoor drama was first performed on this site in 1916 to celebrate the tercentenary of Shakespeare's death. William C. Coker, botany professor and founder of Coker Arboretum (also under the Garden's care today), chose the location. A few years later, Professor Frederick Koch, founder of the Carolina Playmakers, developed the location into a permanent theater. Forest Theatre was rebuilt with Work Projects Administration funds in 1940 and further improved in 1948.
The Carolina PlayMakers were a campus-based theatre group that originated in 1918. Founded by Frederick Koch, the Carolina PlayMakers became a nationally recognized ensemble with the purpose of developing new playwriting talent. The company played an important role in the development of American folk drama and provided a training ground for generations of theatre artists. Today, the UNC-based Playmakers Repertory Company carries on the name and traditions of the theatre group that had its beginnings at the Forest Theatre.
The Forest Theatre has long been a favorite site for theatrical and musical performances. We are thrilled to have such a landmark and icon of the University campus within the administration of the Garden. Those interested in reserving the site for a production or performance, please read our Policies for Productions at Forest Theatre.
The Forest Theatre is currently booking weddings from mid-May through July (Note: ceremony only; no receptions). Please review the Forest Theatre Wedding Policies and Procedures [PDF]. If you have any additional questions, or would like to reserve the location for your wedding, please contact the Forest Theatre manager directly.
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Updated on July 18, 2013 at 12:33:02 pm.