The Strayer-Wood Theatre is the home of the UNI Department of Theatre's production program. The building was the first constructed in the Speech/Art Complex that would eventually include the Communication Arts Center and the Kamerick Art Building. Ground was broken on October 6, 1975, for this $4.5 million building. It was completed in 1978. The grand opening gala in April of that year included a production of Cyrano de Bergerac, directed by D. Terry Williams, the director of theatre at the time.
The building's design began as a focus for a thesis by Richard Devin, a former UNI theater student. Architects Brown-Healey and Bock of Cedar Rapids then made alterations and additions to Devin's ideas. Unlike most UNI buildings, the theatre was named early in the building process. In 1975, it was officially named the Strayer-Wood Theatre after two influential theater faculty members, Hazel B. Strayer and Stanley G. Wood. Hazel B. Strayer established a full-scale theater program at UNI; she led the program from 1929 through 1956. Stanley G. Wood, Strayer's successor, was director of the program from 1956 through 1972.
The Strayer-Wood Theatre contains two theatres (the Strayer-Wood and the Bertha Martin) and support spaces for the production program, including the Phelps Acting Practice Room/Light Lab, fully equipped scenic and costume studios, graphics room, design development and computer labs, a large makeup room, two dressing rooms, Greenroom, library and ticket office.
Like Lawther Hall, the Strayer-Wood Theatre is said to have a ghost lingering in its corridors. Some members of the department believe that the ghost Zelda followed them from their former location in Lang Hall. The ghost is blamed for unexplained sounds and events in the theatre.