Virginia Tech University Libraries, Special Collections
in collaboration with
the Department of Housing, Interior Design, and Resource Management

The Lyric Theatre: A Look Back at the Beginnings

Architectural Design

The design of the Lyric Theatre was the result of a gradual evolution and frank expression of conditions. It is essentially a campus playhouse, and shows the influence of the contemporary school, although there was no attempt at bizarre effects.

As the Blacksburg Realty Corporation controls the Corner Store and its associated interests, the building has been considered carefully in relation to the present group. This resulted in the open stone grille panels, which form the central feature of the theatre entrance, and provide and open court for use of the tenants of both buildings.

The structural walls of the entrance have been expressed by pilasters above the marquise which terminate with carved stone heads, reminiscent of the Tragedy and Comedy masks which represent the actor's genius in the impersonation of his role.

The grilles and masks enfold the Lyric, which has been lettered to conform to the general design. As the center of attraction is toward the top, the specially designed marquise has been kept very quiet in design to add congruity to the whole.

The office entry has been featured in its subordinated position, and the stores, expressive of their true mission, are located to take advantage of the important position of College Avenue.
Source: V.P.I. Skipper, April 1930, p. 5.

Cinema Trivia
Gary Cooper turned down the male lead in Gone with the Wind (1939). When he heard that the studio finally had its leading man, Cooper said,"I'm glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling flat on his face, not Gary Cooper."
from The Book of Lists: The 90s Edition by David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1990).
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Last updated: January 15, 1996