Mission and Vision
The mission of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, is to present a wide variety of cultural, entertainment, and educational performing arts to the Northeastern Wisconsin community while also serving as a home for local and University performing arts ensembles.
The vision of the Weidner Center is to create a place for members of the community to be entertained and enriched. It is also the recognition that the Weidner Center is not just a place, but a program that evolves as the face of the community changes and diversifies. The Weidner Center will continue to respond to our changing community by providing more broad-based programs to appeal to audiences from all backgrounds and age groups.
The Edward W. Weidner Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors in 1993 and marked the beginning of a new era of arts and entertainment for the state of Wisconsin. The Weidner Center has received rave reviews from performers and audiences alike. Its outstanding acoustics, physical beauty and state-of-the-art accommodations combine to make it one of the finest performing halls in the United States.
In the beginning…
Dr. David Cofrin offered the seed gift to begin the planning stages of the Center. Two conditions were made for the gift: the Center must be located on the UW-Green Bay campus and it should serve the entire community. The decision to construct the Center on the UW-Green Bay campus was done so strategically. The Center could then draw upon the existing infrastructure of the University without needing to duplicate many of the services and associated costs if built on an alternative site. Additionally, the original 1968 master plan for the UW-Green Bay campus included a performing arts center, allowing for state funds to be allocated towards the project. Building the Center on the University campus afforded the opportunity to construct a grand performing arts center for the community at a lower cost than if located elsewhere. Dr. Edward W. Weidner, the university’s founding chancellor, began to garner community support and leadership. A major fund-raising campaign began in the late 1980s, which would eventually raise the remainder of the $18.4 million needed to build and equip the facility. Support came from community corporations, foundations, private citizens, and the State of Wisconsin. Today, the Weidner Center (named for Dr. Weidner) exists as a unique model of a “comm-university” center, which is supported by both the University and the communities of Northeastern Wisconsin.
After five years…
As the Weidner Center began to look towards its fifth anniversary in 1998, plans for expansion came to fruition, again with the support of the Cofrin Family. The plans included added restroom facilities, an expanded ticket office, more lobby space, a studio theatre for academic use, more dressing rooms and backstage storage space, and the relocation of the administrative offices. An elevator on the Center’s west side and semi-private dining spaces were also part of the project. The expansion project took place in late summer of 1998.
Nineteen successful years…
The Weidner Center has presented an astounding array of performances from Broadway to chamber orchestras to pop acts and numerous family events. Performers like Yo-Yo Ma, Jerry Seinfeld, Julie Andrews, Robert Goulet, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Cosby, Tony Curtis, Ann Margret, The BoDeans, Willie Nelson, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Anne Murray, Itzhak Perlman, David Copperfield, Emmylou Harris, Victor Borge, George Carlin, Harry Belafonte, Hootie & the Blowfish, The Smothers Brothers, John Denver, Da Yoopers, Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis, Steve Allen, Paul Anka, Mannheim Steamroller, Johnny Cash, Marie Osmond, Kenny G, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Martin Short, Vince Gill and so many others have graced the Weidner Center stage. Musicals like The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Fiddler on the Roof, Cats, and Rent have played to sold-out audiences. Theatrical events like STOMP continue to delight packed houses.