Sanders Theatre

<p>Sanders Theatre today.</p> <p>A curved room with a stage and lectern in the front. On stage is a white older man in a grey suit and glasses addressing an audience. In wooden rectangular benches that are staggered on the ground floor and wooden benches on an upper level of the room sit many people. Hanging down from the center of the room is a large chandelier.</p>
<p>Black-and-white image of Winston Churchill speaking at Sanders Theatre.</p> <p>Black-and-white photograph of a man, Winston Churchill, speaking on stage at Sanders Theatre. He is standing at a lecturn on stage and wears regalia. The stage and audience is also filled with people in regalia. A large, white statue of a man looms over the left side of the stage and a crowd of women fill the upper balcony.</p>

Sanders Theatre

A 1,000 seat lecture hall and landmark performance venue, Sanders Theatre is one of the original components of Memorial Hall's 1875 design and was intended to host Harvard's commencement exercises, as well as lectures. However, the last commencement service in Sanders took place in 1922.

  • <p>The Kuumba Singers perform at Sanders Theatre.</p> <p>A Black man sings into a microphone and wears a colorful stole against black clothing during a stage performance with the Kuumba Singers at Sanders Theatre.</p>
  • <p>Students hold up placards spelling out, "Harvard Loves Wynton", as Wynton Marsalis concludes his artist's residency with a final performance at Sanders Theatre in 2014.</p> <p>A crowd of students hold up red placards spelling out in white letters, "Harvard Loves Wynton." Other students hold up posters of musician Wynton Marsalis.</p>
  • <p>The 2005 Cultural Rhythms' Artist of the Year Jada Pinkett Smith performs with her band Wicked Wisdom at the Sanders Theatre.</p> <p>Jada Pinkett Smith sings into a microphone as she performs a setlist with her band at Sanders Theatre.</p>

It now serves primarily as a lecture and concert hall, hosting a variety of undergraduate classes and musical performances by student acts such as the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College; professional groups like the Boston Philharmonic, Boston Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, and Harlem Gospel Choir; and world-renowned touring artists such as Zakir Hussain, Nick Cave, Brandi Carlisle, Trey Anastasio, Suzanne Vega, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Wynton Marsalis, and Beck.

  • <p>In 2012, Oprah Winfrey spoke at Sanders Theatre as Lady Gaga launched her new "Born This Way" foundation.</p> <p>Oprah Winfrey smiles with her hands outstreched as she speaks at a lecturn at Sanders Theatre.</p>
  • <p>President Pusey and Martin Luther King, Jr. at Harvard University in January 10, 1965.</p> <p>A black and white photo of Harvard President Pusey and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr standing next to each other as the latter raises his hand to wave. Both wear suitjackets and formal hats.</p>
  • <p>Lady Gaga visits Memorial Hall at Harvard University.</p> <p>Lady Gaga is escorted by three security guards as she walks to Memorial Hall while it is snowing. She wears large black sunglasses and a delicate black fascinator.</p>

True to its intent, Sanders continues to feature academic events, conferences, and speakers. Several of the most well-known speakers have been Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lady Gaga, and Oprah Winfrey.

  • <p>A wide shot of the interior of Sanders Theatre. All the theater seats are filled as a performer plays music on stage. A large, lit chandelier hangs over the audience.</p>
  • <p>Stained glass window in Annenberg Hall.</p> <p>A rectangular and colorful stained glass window with a curved top in the Romanesque style. In the top center of the window is a larger circle with a red crest in its center. On either side of that circle are two smaller circles. Below that are five vertical rectangles with spade shapes at their tips.</p>
  • <p>Views a stained glass window, "Athena Decorating Funerary Column", inside Sanders Theatre</p> <p>A stained glass window as viewed behind a staircase in Sanders Theatre. On the left half of the window is an ivory column, the bottom half smooth and the upper half fluted. It is topped by an Ionic capital, just below which is tied a long strip of blue cloth. On the right half of the window stands Athena, a symbol of Greek learning. Athena wears on her breast a gold ornament, and on her head a bronze Greek helmet with a plume, neckpiece, and cheekguards. She has her arms stretched out, with the right arm behind and somewhat above the left, so as to tie the knot of cloth. Inscribed in the lower border of the window are the words “IN MEMORY OF C C FELTON."</p>

Named for Charles Sanders (Harvard 1802), college steward and donor of $40,000 (about $1.2 million in today's dollars), the venue is famous for its white ash, mahogany, and walnut woods; close audience proximity to the stage; 180-degree seating design; and excellent acoustics. The lobby, also known as the Memorial Hall Transept, is adorned with marble floors, 60-foot high gothic vaulting, black walnut paneling, stenciled walls, and 28 panels honoring the 136 alumni donors who died fighting for the United States Army and Navy during the Civil War.

  • Sanders Theatre