Performances and Lectures
The Moreau Center has a rich history. The first words spoken on the stage of O'Laughlin were by Actress Helen Hayes, who participated in laying the building cornerstone in 1955. The Performing Arts Series is designed to introduce students to a variety of artists during their four year education.
Many notable performers have visited the Moreau Center including, Dame Judith Anderson, Robert Speight, Maurice Evans, Marian Anderson, Vincent Price, Agnes Moorhead, Duke Ellington, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Erroll Garner, Cicely Tyson, Maria von Trapp, Marcel Marceau, and George Winston.
Some of our Margaret Hill Visiting Guest artists
include: Anna Deavere Smith, Lilly Tomlin, Hal Prince, Camryn Manheim, Glenn Close, Sigourney Weaver, Audra McDonald and Dianne Wiest. In 2015, the visiting artist will be Second City.
Many prominent lecturers have visited as well: Jonathon Kozol, Reza Aslan, Mary Robinson, James, Carroll, Miri Rubin, Nichloas Kristof, Thomas Cahill, Rebecca Skloot, Krista Tippett and Michelle Alexander. Some of these lecturers were guests in the Christian Culture Lecture Series
The Moreau Center has also hosted many live performances from artists such as Natalie MacMaster, The Guthrie Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, Jen Chapin, North Carolina Dance, Kim and Reggie Harris, The Baltimore Consort, Ririe Woodbury Dance Company, The Ahn Trio, The Aquila Theatre Company, Jean Ritchie, Pacifica String Quartet, Dervish, Colcannon, The Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Koresh Dance Company. Most recently, Jasmine Guy and Avery Sharpe performed in Raisin' Cane, a musical about the Harlem Renaissance.
The realization of the Moreau Center was due in part to the work and dedication of Sister Madeleva Wolff, CSC, who was president of Saint Mary's College from 1934 to 1961. Modeled after the renowned Wagnerian Opera House in Bayreuth, Germany, the O'Laughlin Auditorium held its grand opening on October 11, 1956, featuring the NBC Opera Company's production of The Marriage of Figaro. This date also marked the debut of the NBC Opera Company's national tour. At the time, the construction project cost totaled $2.5 million. Regarding the construction, Sister Madeleva said, "We hope our students develop an appreciate of the arts of all time--the modern and the not-so-modern." In a June 1956 article for Life Magazine, Sister Madeleva said, We have gone two million dollars in debt, but it is a good debt because it is for beauty." Sister Madeleva believed that learning was best facilitated in beautiful surroundings. This was certainly exhibited by her attention to the physical landscape of the College and, perhaps most notably in the construction of the Moreau Center. In the same article, She goes to say,
"Beauty is one of the three attributes under which we can know and see God most clearly. We think of God in terms of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. It is not easy for us to arrive at Truth. We are so filled with fallibility and crowded with prejudices. We have such incomplete knowledge that we are limited in our grasp of Truth. The Good is not always easy for us to accept. Often things that are not so good glow with such attraction. We have a knack for resisting goodness. But Beauty is one aspect of God that is irresistible. Beauty is God's visibility. We can 'see' it in a way we cannot see Truth and Goodness. That is why beauty is so important."