The live theatre — with roots that run back to its humble beginnings 48 years ago as a roving troupe and stretch to its current home fashioned from a former lumberyard — plans to reopen for its 49th season in January 2022, following a $3 million facelift.
A $2 million grant is helping to fund the mega renovation, which will feature a new exterior, an expanded lobby and other interior improvements including new dressing rooms, the addition of two new classrooms and a new stage. According to a press release, the venue has chosen LBL Architects, an architectural firm that’s operated in Arlington since 1965, along with Fort Worth-based RJM Contractors, to complete the construction.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase our work in such a historic area of Arlington,” said Kenny Buyers, RJM’s vice president, in the release. “And we are extremely excited to work with this team and have the vision of this renovation come to life.”
Earlier this year, the venue, which serves more than 30,000 patrons annually, was selected for a $2 million grant by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, which oversees money collected from gas drilling activities on city property. The theater has since raised about 80 percent of the remaining funds needed to fulfill the project’s financial goal.
Since the early ‘90s, performances have been held at Theatre Arlington’s current locale near a train track in downtown Arlington at West and Main streets. Nearby neighbors of the evolving cultural arts district include Arlington Museum of Art, Miss Persis Studio of Dance as well as newcomer Create Arlington.
Levitt Pavilion opened within earshot of the theater in 2008, offering free concerts throughout its season. The area was later named one of the seven new cultural arts districts designated by the Texas Commission of the Arts in 2016.
“I think we have a really fun, good, diverse, interesting season coming up.” –Theatre Arlington executive producer Steven Morris
“In addition to a regular season featuring nine productions and a cabaret series, the theater runs a year-round theater school including spring break and summer camps,” said the release.
Free and low-cost art enrichment programs are also provided at the theatre for local children through partnerships with the Arlington Independent School District and various community organizations.
Steven Morris, who took the helm as executive producer for the theater in 2018, held a video chat last week to discuss the upcoming season and field suggestions for the nonprofit’s 50th season.
Morris said the much-anticipated theater season will start with Sister Act in January, adding that The Piano Lesson, Biloxi Blues and James and the Giant Peach will be among other shows in the lineup. Season tickets will go on sale in September.
“Really, I’m excited about all of them,” Morris said of the scheduled offerings. “I think we have a really fun, good, diverse, interesting season coming up.”