When the USC Department of Drama was established in 1945, Professor and Department Chair William C. DeMille taught classes and rehearsed plays in Old College, the second building ever erected at the University.
His office was a large room in the basement of that building; and Touchstone Theatre served primarily as a teaching space upstairs, while larger productions were performed in Bovard Auditorium. In 1948, Old College was set to be demolished and the moment the drama department (and DeMille — pictured in the left photo) moved out was captured in this black and white image from that year.
Recreating that moment, current School of Dramatic Arts Dean Emily Roxworthy (pictured in the right photo) stands with students Corey Gifft and Mikaela Villalpando in October 2021 on the steps of the School’s new home, which will soon break ground. The 40,000-square-foot space, which once housed the United University Church, is set to open after renovations in December 2023. This redesigned and renovated building will be a central location for SDA students, faculty and staff to come together to cultivate the next generation of diverse storytellers and share the power of creativity with the entire community.
This article appeared in the 2021-22 issue of Callboard magazine. Read more stories from the issue online.