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Royce Hall Could Be Closed to Arts Events Through '94 : Quake damage: The 1927 building that houses UCLA's showpiece auditorium may undergo seismic strengthening. Wadsworth Theater is its backup.


The theater in UCLA's Royce Hall, the architectural symbol and showcase venue for the school, will remain closed for at least two months, and may even remain so into 1995, university officials predicted Wednesday.

The towers of the Romanesque building suffered some structural damage in the Jan. 17 earthquake, and the auditorium cannot be used until they are shored up--a process that campus architect Charles Oakley hopes can be completed within two months.

Even before the earthquake, the entire building had been slated for seismic strengthening, a process it may now undergo immediately so the auditorium will not have to close again in the future. A decision will be made in the next few weeks, officials said. Classrooms and some offices in the building remain open for now, but would be closed for the seismic strengthening.

Most performances scheduled for the 1,850-seat theater have been moved to the Wadsworth Theater, a 1,450-seat venue near the UCLA campus. But because the Wadsworth has a smaller stage, the Feb. 5 performance by the State Symphony of Russia and the Feb. 26 performance of the L'Orchestre National de France have been canceled.

Performances for the 1994-95 season are now being scheduled, and while Center for the Arts Director Michael Blachly hopes the Royce Hall theater will open by then, he also has developed an alternate plan that relies primarily on the Wadsworth.

"Royce has got a track record and a history," Blachly said. "I know it's a priority to do it right and to do it as efficiently as possible."

The theater's grand stage and lavish interior attract world-class artists, and the building itself, one of the oldest on campus, has come to symbolize UCLA. Designed in 1927 by the firm Allison & Allison, Royce Hall combines elements of Mediterranean and Classical architecture and helps anchor UCLA's main quad.

"It's a great old building," said Oakley, of the building's architecture.

Adds Robert Blocker, dean of UCLA's School of the Arts: "The building is so important to the university and to the community that it will receive top priority."

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