Stage West thrives in new location

Stage West thrives in new location

Despite previous financial trouble, Stage West Theater is flourishing in its 25th season at a new location in the cultural district, the theater’s managing director says.

Stage West moved into W.E. Scott Theater, across from Amon Carter Museum at 3505 W. Lancaster Ave., after leaving its previous home on University Drive and Berry Street in September.

Jerry Russell, managing director for Stage West, said a great benefit of the new site is that it was built specifically as a theater for plays.

Stage West’s previous location was originally built as a movie theater. The new theater is better suited to Stage West’s needs and they plan to remain there, Russell said.

It’s “intended to be our home,” Russell said.

The old theater could not accommodate a musical production the way that the new site can, said Steven Morris, who works in the Stage West box office.

Stage West is celebrating its 25th season with a series of six different plays. Four of them are previous hits from the theater’s first 24 years, Russell said. The first play to open at the new site, “Little Shop of Horrors,” debuted Dec. 26. It ran for two weekends and closed Jan. 4.
“It had a very successful run,” Morris said.

A new play, “The Shape of Things,” will open Feb. 12.

An additional smaller theater for Stage West is currently under construction in the Fort Worth Community Arts Center and will be completed in time for the next play. Russell said it will be nice to have two theaters because it will increase Stage West’s flexibility.

At the old location, Stage West had total control of the building and worked with TCU to share resources and facilities, but the new site is not completely controlled by Stage West. Russell says that’s beneficial because it doesn’t have to worry about maintenance and upkeep.

A private investor bought the old theater on University Drive but plans for re-use of the building are not known.

“I think it’s sad that the space isn’t being used as a theater right now,” said Richard Allen, a radio-TV-film professor.