Restoring the Quarry Amphitheater

Carved from a former working quarry amidst redwoods and rocky outcroppings,the Upper Quarry Amphitheater at UC Santa Cruz dramatically showcases the deep connection between the campus, its history, and the natural landscape. Designed in the early ’60s by modernist landscape architect Robert Royston, its asymmetrical terraces and sunny park-like character highlight the surroundings.

“I think it’s beautiful, breathtaking. It always reminds you of where you are, surrounded by the campus’s natural splendor. It’s history, and an extraordinary piece of landscape architecture.”

Frank Zwart (Cowell ’71), Campus Architect Emeritus

  • Architect Robert Royston's concept
  • Quarry Amphitheater, 1960s
  • 1967 Commencement
  • Buckminster Fuller at the Quarry in 1980

Read our brochure

Read our brochure

Despite its central role in campus life since its opening in 1966, the amphitheater fell into disrepair. As a result, events were discontinued in 2006 leaving a void in the heart of campus.

Plans for restoring the amphitheater envision a newly invigorated, inviting cultural space that retains its natural beauty.  While some features will be upgraded, one that will be taken back to its original state is “the rock,” an outcropping that dramatically pierces the stage.

The project feasibility study calls for both restoration and new enhancements. The initial construction will provide accessibility, building code, life safety, and basic operational upgrades to support performances, events and casual daily use of the venue.

  • Seating will be expanded from current 1,636 to 2,000.
  • Stairs, ramps, handrails, lighting, and overall access will be improved.
  • Provisions will be made for portable infrastructure to support events.

Quarry Stories

Personal and passionate, visit YOUR QUARRY STORIES

Send your favorite memory  to QuarryStory@ucsc.edu

Learn more

… when it was a working quarry

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Quarry Amphitheater

Contact us

Linda Navone at 831.459.2666 or lindan@ucsc.edu

Andrea Cohen at 831.459.2380 or acohen@ucsc.edu