145 North University Avenue
Provo, Utah 84601
(2012 - 2014)
Before Jeff and Julianna Blake met and started dating, both were obsessed with opening a theater. Within a little over a month, they married and opened the Echo Theatre. The theater was named after Echo Ridge Drive, the street in Northern California where Jeff Blake grew up.
While working with a friend on a production of The Woman in Black, the place where they planned to perform the play fell through. Originally Blake considered 145 North University Avenue as a temporary venue, but after meeting with the landlord and talking with his family, it turned into more of a permanent project.
The building was a print job, music club, skate shop, and a death metal venue before sitting vacant for seven months. "I'd always looked at this place on University Avenue and thought, 'This place is completely beat up, but it would be a great location for something,' " Jeff Blake said. "I'd say that every square foot had some kind of graffiti on it. There were giant holes punched in the wall from kids moshing. ... They just completely mistreated it."
Echo Theatre was envisioned as a venue for the creative minds of Provo, a place for aspiring playwrights, directors, and actors to call home. "We hope we're doing stuff that's not the typical, cookie-cutter Utah theater stuff. We want to be creative, we want to do stuff that takes risks,” Blake said. "If you've got a great idea, and are not a major theater company, then this is the place for you."
The Woman in Black, a 1987 British play based on the novel, opened at the Echo Theatre on 8 March 2012.
Unfortunately, being located between two music venues caused problems when, at the emotional climax of a play, death metal music started playing from next door. Echo Theatre moved around the corner to Suite 201 at the Carnegie Building (15 North 100 East), but that location had problems as well. After four years, the theater closed its doors permanently.
1. "Say it again: Echo Theatre debuts with 'Woman in Black'", Daily Herald, 8 March 2012
2. "The History of the Echo and Lost Lake Creative", (Web Site), 28 February 2012
3. echotheatre.wordpress.com, 8 June 2020
4. "Provo's Echo Theatre reopens (sort of), this time as the Mercury", Daily Herald, 15 April 2017