Designed and constructed as America's first civic playhouse, the building today known as the Boston University Theatre was the first tax-exempt theatre established in the nation. Construction having begun in 1923, it was formally opened with Sheridan's The Rivals on November 10‚ 1925. The architect was J. Williams Beal Sons. In October 1953, Boston University purchased the facility, and the vision which had initially created the theatre again began to be realized. The School of Theatre Arts at the Boston University College of Fine Arts has now used the theatre as its primary facility for performance, design, and technical production for three decades.