Housed in the Zimmerli Performance Center, renowned for its outstanding acoustics and home to some of the most celebrated musical events in the region, Twichell Auditorium is a treasured jewel of the Spartanburg community.
Built in 1899, this 1,472-seat auditorium houses a 57-rank Casavant Freres organ with 2,600+ pipes. It was renovated in 1989 as part of Converse’s Centennial Celebration and again in 2019 through the generosity of Kurt and Nelly Zimmerli and other donors. The 2019 renovations included improved ADA access, revitalization of the interior space, improved climate control, a new roof and exterior façade repair, and renovation of the pipe organ.
The auditorium has hosted such famed artists as Tony Bennett, Chet Atkins, George Burns, Duke Ellington, Burl Ives, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Marilyn Horne. It is named as a historic John Philip Sousa site to commemorate the many performances given by Sousa and his band in the early twentieth century. Greeting visitors in front of the auditorium is the graceful 8-foot bronze sculpture of legendary contralto singer and civil rights pioneer Marian Anderson, created by artist Meredith Bergmann.
While Twichell is home to the Converse’s Petrie School of Music concerts and operas and other campus events, it also regularly welcomes community groups such as The Greater Spartanburg Philharmonic and Ballet Spartanburg for their performances. Converse’s Formal Opening Convocation, Baccalaureate Service, Commencement Exercises, Founder’s Day, Admission Events and student body meetings such as SGA Installations are held here.
In the front right foundation wall is a time capsule. The original time capsule, dated A.D. 1898, was opened in 1989 as part of the Centennial Celebration, and its contents are on display in Mickel Library. The current time capsule was placed in the cornerstone on October 16, 1988.
Parking: Public parking is available at the Fairview parking lot on North Fairview Avenue. Handicap parking spaces are available in the Twichell lot.
ADA Access: Twichell has an ADA-accessible door into the building and a wheelchair-accessible (max 3 people) elevator to the main floor of the Auditorium. Restrooms in the lower lobby are ADA accessible. An accessible restroom is also located on the auditorium level with an entrance to the right of the stage. Most Converse University programs have ASL interpreters.