While not a hall, the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre has served the students of the University of Maine as much as any traditional hall. Though the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre did not exist by this name until the early 1990s, it has been a part of the University for as long as most other buildings on campus and fulfilled some quite varied functions. Built in 1908 as the Stock Judging Pavilion it served, as its name would suggest, as a location to judge livestock for breeding, common to many land-grant colleges at that time. During the 1930s and 40s there was tremendous development of the University of Maine campus. On two separate occasions, once in 1932 and once in 1948, the firm handling the development project (the same firm in both instances) recommended the demolition of the livestock pavilion. In the first instance they simply never got around to ripping it down before the Great Depression put a halt to development. When they got back around to the pavilion in 1948, its historical significance was more widely appreciated, and its destruction was vetoed by the University. Even after being saved from destruction, it wasn’t until 1979 that the Stock Judging Pavilion would be reborn as the Pavilion Theatre. If you look at the above picture you can see the ever familiar painted wall which was erected in the place of the doors through which the livestock would enter the pavilion. Since its renovation it has served primarily as a venue for student productions.
The Pavilion Theatre became the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre in the early 1990s in honor of the late Edgar Allan ‘Al’ Cyrus. After receiving his Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre, Al began teaching theatre at the University of Maine in 1960 where he remained on the faculty until his death in 1993. During his 33 year career at the University he specialized in the teaching of lighting design, scene design, acting and directing and chaired the Department of Theatre/Dance from 1984 to 1991. During his tenure Al also directed more than 70 productions on and off campus, including “The Night of the Iguana”, a Tennessee Williams play, which was the inaugural performance in the renovated Pavilion Theatre. Just prior to his death, he was a visiting professor at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) where he instituted the University’s theatre curriculum. Al Cyrus dedicated his entire life to sharing his passion for the theatre.