Raisbeck Performance Hall
Visiting artist Ben Vereen at Raisbeck Performance Hall. Photo: Mark Bocek.
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Stage combat class at Raisbeck Performance Hall. Photo: Mark Bocek.
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Raisbeck Performance Hall, with its Ned & Kayla Skinner Theater, is the principal performance venue at Cornish’s Main Campus in downtown Seattle. Built in 1915 and displaying the charm and craftsmanship of a bygone era, Raisbeck is an ideal setting for smaller scale productions of Cornish's Theater Department. At the intersection of Boren and Fairview avenues, the hall is about 25 yards from the Main Campus Center.
In 1914, while Nellie Cornish was a mile-and-a-half away founding the Cornish School, the Sons and Daughters of Norway were building Norway Hall on Boren Avenue. Designed by architect Sonke Englehart Sonnichsen in the traditional Norwegian style, the building is an amazing confection of carved ornamentation, turned columns, sawn balustrades topped with a gabled roof.
As its former name implies, the hall was intended for Seattle’s Norwegian community and their cultural and fraternal organizations. As per Christine Anderson, Leif Erikson Lodge 2-001 historian, Norway Hall was completed in 1915 and used by the organization until Leif Erikson Lodge 2-001 and Valkyrien Lodge #1 (Daughters of Norway) sold Norway Hall in 1948. After that time, it was used by a variety of community groups. While some of the ornamentation was moved when these organizations changed their headquarters, there's still remnants of Rasibeck's Scandinavian past left to be seen. Look up when entering or exiting the main lobby. Can you spot the Viking ship?
By the 1990s, the building was rechristened The Timberline and was a popular country/western dance club for the local LGBTQ community.
During the filming of the original Twin Peaks in Washington State, Raisbeck has a small cameo as the inside of the "Roadhouse Bar." The exterior of the "Roadhouse Bar" can be found well outside of Seattle at the Fall City Roadhouse and Inn, built in 1916. This Fall City, Washington, landmark does have similar interior.
Today, Raisbeck Hall is one of four performance venues operated by Cornish College of the Arts. It is used throughout the academic year for classes, visiting artist lectures, and performances. It is only open to the public for events and tickets may be required. Please see the Cornish calendar for current events at Raisbeck. For rental information, please see the performance venues page.