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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Forest Theatre (also known as the Koch Memorial Theatre)

Koch Memorial Forest Theatre, dedicated 1953 Frederick Henry Koch (1877-1944) and Paul Green (1894-1981)

In 1916, the university celebrated the three-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by holding outdoor dramas in Battle Park. Several years later, when Frederick Koch joined the faculty to teach playwriting, the university built a permanent stone amphitheatre at the site. With funding from the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration, the theatre was rebuilt in 1940. In 1953, the university dedicated the theatre to Koch, calling it “an open air palace of light and sound, haunt of birds and breezes and human voices, home of natural beauty, poetry and drama, set upon the warm earth, in enduring stone, to commemorate an ardent genius.”