Throwback Thursday: Russell Miller Theatre at WKU

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – This week we take a closer look inside the Fine Arts Center on WKU’s campus in Bowling Green. We’ve featured this building before, but we’re diving deeper into its performing arts history. Inside is the Russell Miller Theatre, the home stage of the WKU Theatre & Dance Department.

Built in 1973, the two-story Russell Miller Theatre is in the east wing. With nearly 300 seats, crowds have both a main floor and balcony view during performances. The theatre’s namesake is for professor Russell Miller, who taught speech and dramatic arts in the first half of the 20th century.

Russell Miller was born in Water Valley, Miss., in 1905. He studied drama and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Mississippi. He traveled to Kentucky in the early 1940s and took a teaching position in the Bowling Green College of Commerce and Business University in 1947.

He became a centerpiece of the WKU Theatre Department, creating the modern model of the WKU Forensics Club. He completely revitalized the Congress Debating Club in 1949 and set up the current oratory competition model of debate. Passing away in 1968 at age 63, the Fine Arts Center would finish construction just five short years later.

The Russell Miller Theatre is currently home to plays, musicals, dance concerts, and operas. Students showcase their performances every semester. Shows are open to the public and tickets can be purchased online. A Russell Miller scholarship is even awarded annually to a theatre department student.

Visit the WKU Department of Theatre & Dance website for a list of upcoming showtimes.