Sledgehammer Time

Revered Fort Worth theater breaks ground on major renovations

Revered Fort Worth theater breaks ground on major renovations

New Stage West studio theater
Phase one of the renovations will include a new black box theater. Rendering courtesy of Stage West
Stage West board
Contractor Oscar Oaxaca, architect Morris McIntosh, board member Randy Thomson, executive producer Dana Schultes, board president Larry Anfin, board member Subie Green, and board member Bronson Davis at the groundbreaking. Photo by Karry Liu
New Stage West studio theater
Stage West board

One of Fort Worth's major theaters has broken ground — well, walls — on its upcoming renovations. Stage West executive producer and artistic director Dana Shultes and members of the board gathered to take a sledgehammer to 823 W. Vickery, where phase one will begin on March 2.

In the plans is a flexible black box theater space with state-of-the-art technology, dressing rooms, and bathrooms. A smaller rehearsal hall/performance space that can house an audience of 30 to 40 people, with minimal theatrical capabilities, is also anticipated, along with new administrative offices and a new box office located at the front of the main venue at 821 W. Vickery.

Near Southside's BASECOM Inc. Construction, which is owned by Oscar Oaxaca, has been contracted to head up the project.

The current plan is to have the new black box theater open for use during Stage West's 42nd season (October 2020-September 2021). The theater is currently gearing up to open its third production of the current season, Lucy Kirkwood's The Children, on March 12.

Stage West bought the 821-823 W. Vickery Blvd. venue in Fort Worth's historic Near Southside in January 2018. The building was originally built in 1930 as a bus garage for the city.

A $4.5 million comprehensive, three-year "Campaign for Stage West: Setting the Stage for the Future" launched publicly in February 2019. Since that date, the theater has raised over $2.7 million toward renovations and general operations over the span of the campaign, which runs through September 2022. 

Over three phases of work, Stage West's renovations are designed not only to enhance the theater-going public's experience, but also to create a more efficient and effective workspace for the staff and artists creating the programming. Funding for phase one has been fully secured. Naming rights are still available for various parts of the project, including dressing rooms and kitchen.