WATCH: Designing for the Future of Performing Arts at Auburn University

January 31, 2019

In this video, Scott Wilson, Scott Butler, and Christopher Heacox discuss how the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center (GPAC) at Auburn University is designed to create an intimate experience between the performers and audience, and how the world-class facility will serve as a new cultural gateway to Auburn University.

The influence of a modern performing arts center is found in its promise of high-quality artistic opportunities. The GPAC is scheduled to open in August 2019 and will feature touring Broadway productions; opera, dance, orchestral, and popular musical performances; and student and faculty music and theater performances.

“You’re trying to create the most intimate experience between the performer and the audience, and you want them to feel that they are as close as they can be without any distractions or interruptions.”
– Scott Butler, AIA, Director at Wilson Butler Architects


The Walter Stanley and Virginia Katharyne Evans Woltosz Theatre

The Walter Stanley and Virginia Katharyne Evans Woltosz Theatre at Auburn University

The center’s largest venue is the 1,200-seat Walter Stanley and Virginia Katharyne Evans Woltosz Theatre. In addition to the main stage, the team also designed an open lobby, and a porch and lawn amphitheater. This 17,000 square foot venue is designed for outdoor performances, community festivals, and other celebrations. The future center will be located on South College Street, directly opposite the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Its proximity to the museum creates a new cultural arts district for the university, community, and region.

“The buildings together talk about Auburn as the nexus between art, culture, academics, and recreation and sports, creating this community of creative thinkers.”
– Scott Wilson, AIA, Director at Wilson Butler Architects


The 1,200-seat multi-purpose Woltosz Theatre is designed with natural, variable acoustics; orchestra pit/lift; adjustable proscenium; with a stage and stagehouse. This venue will accommodate a full range of performers, from a small ensemble or dance troupe, to a full symphony orchestra and chorus, to touring Broadway shows and opera performances.

At Auburn University, campus pride runs deep, and students are engaged in all aspects of day-to-day function and theater operations. As a result, the technical areas of the Woltosz Theatre are designed to be user-friendly, providing teaching opportunities for performing arts students.

Designed to increase the breadth of cultural expression found in the transformative power of the arts, the GPAC at Auburn University will enrich the artistic life of the university, state and region.