The Colwell Playhouse, designed primarily for dramatic productions, accommodates an audience of 678 in continental style seating. The proscenium opening is 38 feet wide and 22 feet high, while the stage is 30 feet deep to the cyclorama. The grid is 84 feet high. The full-stage cyclorama is made of translucent material to allow front or rear projections, especially useful with the Department's large-format Pani projector. Behind the cyclorama and in the left and right wings there is enough space to accommodate complete stage settings, making quick scenery changes possible. The stage is entirely trapped in 4 by 8 foot sections. Two "Spiralift" powered forestage lifts can be raised to create a thrust when needed or can be lowered and used as an orchestra pit for thirty musicians.
The Colwell Playhouse is equipped with 379 dimmers per circuit and an ETC Expression II/III lighting console. It has a full complement of lighting instruments available for the most elaborate theatre piece, including ETC Souce4instruments, a Pani large format projector, and two zenon super troopers.
There is a 24-line motorized counterweight system with "Touch Screen" computerized controller in addition to a 28-line manual counterweight system, each with 1,000 pound capacity per lineset. In addition, the Colwell Playhouse features a motorized light bridge, cyclorama, hard tormentor and teaser, and cyclorama.
An audio booth is located at the rear of the house and is permanently equipped with mixers, recorders, amps, and central cluster speaker system. Additional speakers are available as needed by various productions. The Colwell Playhouse is also equipped with a Sennheiser Infrared System for the hearing impaired.