Keller Auditorium Information

Keller Auditorium

About Keller Auditorium

The Keller Auditorium is located at222 SW Clay Street, Portland, Oregon, 97205. It’s right in the heart of downtown Portland, surrounded by shops, restaurants, and bars.

Opening in 1917 as the Civic Auditorium, the venue has undergone many name changes over the past century. It has also seen extensive remodeling and refurbishment. Despite these changes, one thing has remained consistent — its year-round hosting of top performances.

The Keller Auditorium has grown into having an incredible reputation as the place to go to see all of the latest Theatre, Ballet and live music performances in the Portland area. Located Downtown on Clay Street, this wonderful venue has been host to an endless list of the greatest musicians and actors, over the years! Since it’s opening back in the early 1917, making it also an historical building to visit!

As well as concerts, this auditorium has held interesting and unique events such as; Exhibitions and it’s very own Museum, which unfortunately closed down in the mid 1960’s, but this gave way to a chance for change and in 2001, The Keller was of course renovated by Richard B. Keller, hence the name, to honor his work and the true transformation that was complete. The re-markable changes took what used to be a classic building into the modern day, now its the go to venue to catch exciting tours, of all kinds – all in one place!

Whatever show you attend at the Keller Auditorium — from Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Oregon Symphony to Broadway productions — you’re sure to enjoy a memorable visit.

Theatre history

The Keller Auditorium is considered by its owners to be a workhorse venue, because of the massive range of performances it hosts. When it was built in 1917 as the Civic Auditorium, it was known as THE place to go to see Broadway productions on tour, ballet recitals, opera performances, family events, and other community-oriented shows and concerts. This reputation never changed for the venue, even if it changed names in 1966 and 2000 as well as an extensive remodeling and modernization project from 1967-1968.

The site of the Keller Auditorium in downtown Portland has been occupied since the 1800s, taking up an entire block. In the mid-1910s, the city decided that a theatrical venue would be a good use of the land, with construction beginning in 1916.

The venue opened on July 4, 1917. The Portland Symphony Orchestra played the first full concert, beginning a long partnership that continues today (as the Oregon Symphony.)

The theater continued to host events until 1960, when it began an extensive refurbishment costing millions of dollars. It reopened in 1968.

Since then, the Keller Auditorium has hosted concerts, plays, operas, and speeches. World-famous acts have graced its stage each year, with everybody from John F. Kennedy to Led Zeppelin making appearances. In recent times, the City of Portland has been investigating another large refurbishment to create an arena for the future.

Today, it is a performing arts center located in downtown Portland, Oregon as part of the Portland’s Centers for the Arts. It is also home to many performances by the Portland Opera and the Oregon Ballet Theatre company. It was the longtime home for the Portland Symphony Orchestra (now the Oregon Symphony) from 1917 – 1984. It also housed the Oregon Historical Society and its museum from 1917 – 1965.

Inside the auditorium

What is it like to be a guest at Keller Auditorium?

To start, the general vibe is relaxed, laid back, and fun. From the moment you arrive, you’ll find staff that is enthusiastic about the upcoming show, a general vibe and energy that can’t wait to see the event, all wrapped up in a no-fuss atmosphere. That’s because Oregon audiences tend to be some of the most welcoming and eager audiences around, with members who trust the venue to book five-star entertainers that want to put on world-class shows.

But even with this, there’s a certain style and sophistication that you can feel from the moment you pass the gate. Even with the relaxed dress code, you can’t help but feel that you’re watching classy worldly entertainment when you see shows at Keller Auditorium.

Owned by City of Portland

The venue is owned by the City of Portland. In its role as a performing arts center, it is operated by Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. This local organization also manages several other facilities within the center, including:

  • The Brunish Theatre (an intimate performing arts venue with 200 seats)
  • The Winningstad Theatre (a courtyard-style theater with 304 seats)
  • The Newmark Theatre (a theater used for smaller productions with 880 seats)
  • The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (a historic performing arts venue with 2,776 seats.)

The Keller Auditorium is the largest of the five venues, with a capacity of 2,992 seats — or 3,034 if the pit rows are in use.