Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts

Color photo of Loretto-Hilton Center viewed from the southDeveloped after a study financed by the Educational Facilities Laboratories, Inc. of the Ford Foundation, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Loretto-Hilton Center was held Feb. 2, 1964, and the facility was officially dedicated May 8, 1966. The late Conrad Nicholas Hilton contributed $1.5 million of the $1.9 million that the center cost. Inside there was a 952-seat main stage theatre and a 125-seat Studio Theatre. The Center is the official home for the Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.


On June 25, 2001, construction began on a $5.4 million expansion and renovation of the Loretto-Hilton Center.In addition to new backstage facilities, the addition featured The Hobler Center for Dance. The expansion was made possible in part due to the generosity of Trustee Laurance L. Browning, Jr., and his wife, Virginia, who offered a $1 million challenge that fostered a fund-raising partnership between Webster, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, all of whom use the facility. The addition to the Center was completed in 2002. That same year the main stage was named the Virginia Jackson Browning Theatre in honor of the contributions of Larry and Jinny Browning.



Blueprints for theatre materialize in '63. (1962, November 9). The Web, vol. 39, no. 6, p. 1.

Dedication service May 8 for Loretto-Hilton Center. (1966, March 4). The Web, vol. 43, no. 9, p. 1.

Opening of Loretto-Hilton Center marks Webster's further motion. (1966, May 6). The Web, vol. 43, no. 12, p. 1.

The many faces of the Loretto-Hilton. (1966, May 6). The Web, vol. 43, no. 12, pp. 4-5.

Loretto-Hilton Center expansion. (1999, Spring). Webster World, vol. 4, no. 5, p. 40-41.

May, Dave. (1999, November 4). Webster to open hostel in Loretto-Hilton. The Journal, vol. 46, no. 10, p. 13.

Wallus, Sarah. (2000, April 6). Conservatory, Rep get comfort with expansion The Journal, vol. 47, no. 10, p. 13.

Loretto-Hilton Center gets facelift. (2000, Fall). Webster World, vol. 6, no. 2, p. 27.

Burleson, Erica. (2001, April 12-18). Loretto-Hilton expansion gets early approval. The Journal, vol. 49, no. 11, p. 3.

Banks, Rebecca. (2001, December 6-January 16, 2002). Construction continues over break. The Journal, vol. 50, no. 14, p. 1.

Flagg, Todd. (2002, January 17-23). Loretto-Hilton Center comes one step closer to completion. The Journal, vol. 51, no. 1, p. 1.

Tully, Jeryldine. (2002, Spring). Brownings' support takes Webster to new level. Webster World, vol. 7, no. 4, 18-19.


Archival materials


Additional documents, clippings, etc. about the Center are available in the Archives.