Alys Stephens Center

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From the west in December 2009.

The Alys Stephens Center (also known as the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center) an entertainment complex located at 1200 10th Avenue South as part of the UAB campus. Designed by Davis Architects and completed in 1996, it consists of four separate venues that play host to a wide variety of music and theatre annually. Additionally, it also serves as the home of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. The facility was named for local fine arts patron Alys Robinson Stephens. On March 15, 2019 Lili Anderson became the first executive director of Visual and Performing Arts after the administrative merger of the Alys Stephens Center and the Abroms-Engels Institute for Visual Arts.


Mrs. Stephens met with UAB leaders in 1990 to discuss the future of fine arts at the campus. She was taken with the plan for a fine arts center that would enhance both the university and the city. Groundbreaking for Phase I, the Jemison Concert Hall, took place on June 16, 1993 with both Mrs. Stephens and her husband, Elton B. Stephens, attending.

Mrs. Stephens died on February 1996, eight months before Phase I was completed in September of that year. A portrait of her by Arthur Stewart hangs in the upper lobby, and Frank Fleming's towering sculpture, "The Performers" can be seen from both the upper and lower gathering spaces. Mrs Stephens' husband and children attended the opening gala that featured a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra.

Phase II, which included Sirote Theatre, Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall, and Odess Theatre, was completed in 1999. The academic wing, the third and final phase, opened in May 2005.

In 2016 the center's Jemison Concert Hall was renovated with new carpet, lighting, stage flooring and stage curtains, adapting it to be more flexible for dance performances.


In late August 2014 the Alys Stephens Center and adjacent Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts were draped with large fabric panels in an installation entitled "Magic Chromacity", which was designed by Brooklyn, New York-based artist Amanda Browder.


  • Jemison Concert Hall with 1,300 seats
  • Sirote Theatre with 350 seats
  • Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall with 170 seats
  • Odess Theatre
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