Missouri Theatre launches<br>renovation efforts</br>

Destruction in and out of the historic theater is the first step of making the building into the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts
Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | 9:41 p.m. CDT; updated 10:08 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Missouri Theatre’s upper balcony is being renovated as part of the theater’s transformation process.

COLUMBIA — In an alley bordering the Missouri Theatre, there is a doorway. There is not, however, a door.

Right now, as the old theater undergoes a massive renovation, holes like this must be filled by the imagination. In about nine months, this skeleton of a building will be transformed into the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, restored and expanded into what David White, its executive director, hopes will be at the center of both the local arts scene and downtown Columbia.


Related Media

But on Wednesday afternoon, two men in hard hats stood atop scaffolding in the bare remains of a T-shirt store, carving into the ceiling with saws as pieces of it gave way in showers of sparks. If you want to make a theater, you’ve got to break some walls.

Plans for the center have been in the works for years now, although the execution has just begun.

“There’s still a lot of exploration going on as far as the scope of the project,” White said. “I think everyone’s still trying to get their sea legs.”

The project’s cost, initially $6.67 million, has increased by $1 million, White said. Funding has come in a variety of forms, including historical tax credits, endowments and a door-to-door campaign undertaken by White. A “Take Your Seat” campaign, in which donors can buy commemorative plaques to be placed on the seats in the new theater, has sold 652 of the 1,200 or so seats available.

Still, White said there are$1.7 million left to be raised.

“Everything adds up,” he said. “There’s no small donation.”

Meanwhile, the destruction continues. Layers of recent renovations are pulled away and antique bricks are carefully stacked, to be used elsewhere. And slowly, amidst raining dust and chiseled cement, the future of arts in Columbia is being made.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.