Document Type

Case Study

Publication Date



Bryan Layton; Martín Sepulveda; Craig Thompson


Susan Kunimatsu


The Neptune Theatre, formerly known as the U-Neptune Theatre, was one of five neighborhood theaters constructed in the University District during the silent film era (1919 - 1921). This period, the 1920s, was “Seattle’s most active decade” of theater construction (Flom, 2001). Today, the Neptune remains as the last standing survivor of those venues still in operation a hundred years later. Still owned by descendants of the original family and now leased and operated by the Seattle Theatre Group (STG), this venue hosts artists and events ranging from David Crosby concerts to a Welcome to Nightvale live podcast performance; from a Macklemore guest appearance (Matson, 2012) to the annual Nights at the Neptune and Youth Speaks series. It remains one of Seattle’s premiere hot spots for concerts, film screenings, spoken word and dance showcases, and performances by touring musical legends and community youth alike. In our current environment of constrained resources, fiscal scrutiny, monotonous modern construction, and a movement towards historical stewardship and adaptive reuse, it is vital to develop a familiarity with exemplary facilities that embody long-term success by exploring and analyzing their leadership, design, operation, maintenance, and capitalization strategies, which have contributed to their ongoing survival and flourishment. By doing so, we can learn ways to extend the functional lifespan of well-maintained, unique, relevant, and community-engaged arts venues.

Organization or Event

Seattle Theater Group

Form of Entity


Area of Activity

Producer, Presenter, Venue/Facility, Arts Education

Artistic Discipline

Theatre, Dance, Music, Multidisciplinary