Built on Congress Avenue next to the Paramount, Austin’s original performing arts venue, State Theatre opened as a movie palace in 1935. Today, with approximately 300 seats, the theatre produces a range of drama, comedy, music, dance, and spoken-word events. The development of a hotel project next door prompted a renovation to reposition the theatre as an incubator for future Paramount performers and an entry point for new audiences with Austin Theatre Alliance. The renovation includes increased capacity and configuration flexibility with seated capacity targeted at 450 and full general admission at almost 600.
A rehabilitated Art Deco façade highlights the original 1930s design and celebrates its existing marquee and blade signage. Two new ticketing windows are introduced along with a new pair of egress doors and divided light steel and glass infill. A new rooftop deck allows for outdoor gathering and downtown views.
The interior is reimagined with rich materials and geometric detailing. The reconfigured double height lobby features a dramatic sculptural stair and provides a tucked bar with a private mezzanine lounge above for exclusive meet-and-greets. The State and Paramount are connected via a new two-sided elevator, while a transformed basement allows guests to flow between a new underground bar and auditorium.
The auditorium allows multiple seating and lighting levels with audio and projector booths at the rear. Retractable seating replaces fixed seating and the removal of catwalks and platforms allows for the reintroduction of balcony seating. Backstage, a platform and new mechanical lift provide ease of movement for artists’ equipment. The stage extends to provide room for backstage functions or to create a thrust stage for intimate solo performances.