Tonight the Paramount presented Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel in A Ride With Bob. (You can order your own CD using the link to the right. When you do, a portion of the proceeds are donated to the theatres.) This play made its premiere next door to the Paramount at the State Theatre in 2005 to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Bob Wills. As many of you know, the State Theatre flooded last year and has remained closed. Well, fear not. We do have plans to re-open the State soon.
In 1935 the State Theatre (719 Congress Ave. ) was actually built inside the framework of a much older and larger building. The other half of that building eventually became the Reynolds-Penland Building (721 Congress Ave.) located on the corner of 7th and Congress. These two building are actually “joined at the hip” because the infrastructure of the original building still exists. However, the Reynolds-Penland Building is now being developed into a 6-story condominium complex. We have been working with the developer to separate all the electrical, plumbing and various mechanical hook-ups that had previously been shared by the two buildings.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the dressing rooms, rehearsal hall, prop storage and costume shop are actually located in the basement of the 721 building which is now under construction. These areas were the most heavily damaged during the flood. We are working closely with the developer of 721 Congress Ave. to coordinate our renovation efforts with his construction schedule so that each of us is not getting in the way of the other.
Before the flood the State Theatre had issues including ventilation (not enough fresh air), air conditioning (none in the lobby) and acoustics (several rows of the auditorium were considered “dead zones” for the actors). These issues as well as the additional issues caused by the flood all needed to be addressed before we could reopen the space.
So far we have accomplished the following:
- all water-damaged materials have been removed
- the theatre seats have been replaced
- we have completed a state-regulated mold remediation process
- we have completed a comprehensive engineering study on all of our mechanical facilities
It is my hope that the facility that reopens is a better facility than the one we closed. At this time I do not have an exact date, but I estimate no sooner than 6 months and hopefully not longer than 18 months. If you would like to make a donation to support our efforts you may call Maica Jordan, Development Director, at (512) 472-2901 x 219 or email her a email@example.com. Alternatively you could make a donation at our website (www.austintheatre.org).