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Houston’s Theater Scene Remains Strong Despite Falling Oil Prices


Despite falling oil prices and slowing commercial construction, Houston’s theater scene is going strong. Three major theaters recently opened (or reopened in The Alley’s case): The Alley Theatre, Main Street Theater, and Midtown Arts & Theatre Center Houston. Additionally, Sugar Land Ace Center just topped out.

The Alley

The Alley opened to much fanfare as its $46.5M makeover, designed by Studio Red and built by Bellows, was unveiled. The theater is now the first resident theater company in the country with its own fully motorized rigging system. The renovations doubled the size of the Patricia Peckinpaugh Hubbard Stage, removed viewing obstructions and added a large four-story fly loft. Previously, 60% of the seating at the theater was further than 40 feet from the stage, now 60% of the audience sits within 40 feet of the stage. The new, intimate setting will provide patrons with a more engaging experience.

Midtown Arts and Theater Center (MATCH)

The 46k SF Midtown Arts and Theater Center (MATCH), designed by Studio Red and Lake|Flato, provides a centralized hub, bringing together artists from across the region. The theater includes multi-tenant exhibition space, rehearsal halls, black box spaces, galleries, office spaces, and a theater that can accommodate up to 350 people. Located at 3400 Main St in the heart of Midtown, the flexible building allows for multiple functions and a variety of audiences. For example, one of the black boxes is actually a white box so the area can double as gallery space. Studio Red project manager Jared Wood tells us he recently took his son’s pre-school class to see Goodnight Moon, and the space is definitely kid-approved.

Main Street Theater

Studio Red and Arch-Con celebrated the grand opening of Rice Village’s Main Street Theater, a renovated 5,700 SF black box theater that includes 99 seats with a flexible configuration, support and gathering space and a rehearsal hall on the second floor to be used for summer camps and classrooms. This new landmark in the Houston arts community has the capability to move from an arena stage to a thrust stage, corner stage, end stage, and grandstand stage with minimal assistance from stagehands. Studio Red partner Pete Ed Garrett says the team worked hard to expose the existing structure and salvage as many walls as possible to keep the space's history alive.