Main Street Theater Announces Important Changes for 2014-15 Season
Just weeks from beginning production on its 2014-2015 Season, Main Street Theater (MST) has learned that it must vacate its Chelsea Market facility on Montrose Boulevard by the end of the summer. MST has continued to rent the Chelsea Market location, in use by the company since 1996, on a month-to-month basis in anticipation of moving into the new Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH) when it is completed in mid-2015. However, the landlord at Chelsea Market has sold off a large portion of the parking lot for development (making parking and access very tight) and has informed MST that its activities can no longer be accommodated.
The Chelsea Market theater is the venue and office for MST's professional Theater for Youth, which this season hosted over 85,000 school children at its school performances plus 15,000 parents and children at its weekend family matinees. This location is also the headquarters of MST's Education Department, which provides in-school and after-school performing arts classes at over 23 schools in Houston as well as in-house classes, productions, and performing arts camps serving over 1,000 children. The Chelsea Market theater was to have been the home of three of MST's MainStage productions in the 2014-15 season, since the renovation of MST's Rice Village theater building is scheduled to begin in November. The untimely loss of this valuable performance space, just as the season is beginning, is a blow to MST's well-being, especially in a year when it is working to transition to two new performing venues.
However, MST is already in negotiations to relocate the Theater for Youth and Education Department activities for the 2014-15 Season to a suitable, centrally-located theater. Renovation of MST's Rice Village MainStage facility will go forward as planned, and the MainStage season will be reduced to two productions: Peace in Our Time by Noël Coward (Sept./Oct 2014), and the Stephen Sondheim revue, Putting It Together (dates and venue TBA).
"The Theater for Youth alone serves over 100,000 children each year and is an irreplaceable resource for Houston teachers," notes Vivienne M. St. John, MST's Theater for Youth Producing Director, "Many of the schoolchildren who come to see these shows may not see another play for years. It would be terrible to lose this opportunity, even for one season."
"We thought we had everything perfectly aligned for this transition year," says MST Executive Artistic Director Rebecca Greene Udden. "This is a real shock to our system, but we are a resilient company and have weathered worse over our 39 seasons. The first order of business is to make sure there is no disruption to our Theater for Youth and Education Department programming, and we look forward to performing in two lovely new spaces in the fall of 2015."