The performing arts are deeply rooted in the history of PSU. The Bachelors degrees in Theater Arts were established in May 1961 under the leadership of the first department Chair, Dr. Asher B. Wilson. In the ensuing two decades, Dr. Wilson's efforts resulted in the establishment of Master degree programs, the founding of the American Theatre Company (the first equity theatre company in Oregon, Tom Hill, Artistic Director) and the creation of the summer stock program at the Coaster Theater, Cannon Beach. He also led the department to national prominence, including producing two American College Theater Festival award-winning productions directed by Jack Featheringill and performed at the Kennedy Center. Under the leadership of Jack Featheringill, the summer stock program performed as the PSU Players at the Coaster Theater, and later as PSU Summer Performance Festival in Lincoln Hall, for almost two decades, and Featheringill also produced and directed his third production at the Kennedy Center. Under Chair William Tate, enrollments in Theater Arts increased dramatically in the 1990's, and although PSU's Center for the Moving Image was discontinued in 1980, the program's film studies curriculum, nurtured by Tate since the 1970's, enabled the establishment of the Minor in Film Studies (2002). From 2002, Chair Sarah Andrews-Collier continued to expand enrollments and expanded the Film program, resulting in the establishment of the Bachelor degrees in Film in 2007. She led the school to achieve disciplinary accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre for Theater Arts (2005) and Film (2010), and the school was re-named Department of Theatre and Film before later becoming the School of Theatre and Film in 2013. Andrews-Collier also reintroduced Dance curriculum at the university, including addition of the Minor in Dance (2008). At present, there are over 450 majors and 50 minors in the combined programs in the School of Theatre and Film.
The historic Lincoln Hall is the oldest structure on the PSU campus (c.1911), and the School of Theatre and Film has resided in Lincoln Hall since it became the first campus building in 1954. In the mid-1970's, production facilities underwent significant renovations, including construction of the Lincoln Studio Theatre in 1972, the new costume studio in 1973, and the new scenic studio and the re-conceived Lincoln Performance Hall in 1975. In 2007 the Oregon Legislature appropriated over $30 Million to fund a major renovation of Lincoln Hall, and that work was completed in September 2010. With enhancements to that fund from the federal economic stimulus package and from our generous donors, we have undergone a major transformation of our learning and creative environments, including improvements to our theatres and labs, the addition of Film production and screening facilities, enlargement of our mainstage rehearsal hall and computer lab, technology advances, and the debut of the long-awaited Boiler Room 3/4 thrust theatre. We are excited to be back home in Lincoln Hall, and are looking forward to our next 50 years!