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UMSL Performing Arts Center Names New Director

John Dale Kennedy, longtime director of the 2,000-capacity Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been named director of the $50 million Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, set to open in September.

Kennedy has been at the Sangamon Auditorium from the start, since 1980.

"The opportunity to open a new building doesn't get to happen very often in this business," Kennedy said. "To be able to do it a second time is what drew me here."

The Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center is the first of its size in the St. Louis area. It features two performance spaces — a 1,630-seat proscenium theater and a 300-seat music and theater hall.

Designed by world-renowned architects Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners, the 128,000-square-foot facility includes an enclosed atrium to showcase art exhibits and accommodate cultural, academic and corporate events.