School of the Arts

Performance Halls

Laxson Auditorium

Laxson Auditorium front stage.

Laxson Auditorium is CSU, Chico’s largest performance venue with a capacity of 1,200. It is located on the corner of First and Salem Streets, and the entrance faces Kendall Hall. It boasts state-of-the-art lighting, sound, and counterweight systems. 

Laxson’s configuration is an American seating style with a large balcony. There is a traditional elliptical proscenium arch that is over 35 feet high and 36 feet wide. The stage is 30 feet deep, and there is a medium-sized orchestra pit. 

Laxson is known as the main “Road House” of the Chico area, with over 100 performances from around the world held here each year. CSU, Chico’s annual spring musicals also take place here. Notable artists such as Nobel Prize recipients such as Mikhail Gorbachev and performing artists such as Willie Nelson, Lily Tomlin, B.B. King, and the San Francisco Symphony, among others, have performed here.

Laxson Auditorium was completed in the early 1930s, and has undergone two renovations since then. The last renovation took place during the summer of 2006. Renovations included newly refurbished seating, new carpet, a refinished stage floor, lighting and sound equipment upgrades, and an update of backstage dressing rooms.


Arts Recital Hall

ARTS Recital Hall with its natural wood surround and small seating makes for an intimate venue

The beautiful Arts Recital Hall has a seating capacity of 196 people, and is located in room 150 of the Arts and Humanities Building on West Second and Salem Streets, across from the Janet Turner Gallery.

Since the room is composed of natural wood, the hall has phenomenal acoustics. The acoustics and small seating volume make for an intimate and memorable concert experience.

The Recital Hall is utilized for events and performances by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Chico Performances, and other community organizations and campus departments.  Some HFA events include Sundays at Two recital series, Humanities Center lectures by Visiting Scholars, Turner Gallery Curator Talks, the Brass Choir, and multiple student recitals throughout the academic year.  The state of the art venue also serves as a classroom for Recording Arts students.


Harlen Adams Theatre

The Harlan Adams Theatre with 486 blue seats

The Harlen Adams Theatre is the largest performance space in the Performing Arts Center with a seating capacity of 486 people. The theatre is located in room 144 of the Performing Arts Center, which stands on the edge of campus on West Second and Chestnut Streets. The majority of CSU, Chico’s School of the Arts music performances take place here each year.

The seating arrangement is a continental configuration, with aisles on the outside of the seating area. The stage is 40 feet wide, has plenty of wing space, and features an apron that can be raised and lowered to create various stage levels or a large orchestra pit.

Harlen Adams possesses an advanced computer lighting board, excellent sound recording and playback capabilities, a fully trapped stage floor, and a full fly house with newly renovated counterweight system and rigging. The backstage area directly connects to the shop space.


Larry Wismer Theatre

The Wismer Theatre has movable stadium seating that can be configured differently for each performance

The Larry Wismer Theatre can seat 100–150 people depending upon the configuration of the moveable stadium seats. It is located in room 135 of the Performing Arts Center, on West Second and Chestnut Streets. 

Wismer is known as CSU, Chico’s “Black Box” space, as it was designed for theatre-in-the-round performances. Seating configurations can be full or three-quarter arena, in addition to thrust and transverse configurations.

Wismer is equipped with an advanced computer lighting board and excellent sound playback and recording capabilities.


Ruth Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall

The Ruth Rowland Taylor Recital Hall features 218 seats with a red and white decor

Ruth Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall has a seating capacity of 218. It is located in Room 134 of the Performing Arts Center, which is located on West Second and Chestnut Streets.

Rowland-Taylor is a performing venue that hosts music, dance, theater, and lecture events.