Main Street Theater Gets a Shock -- Booted From Chelsea Market Location

This just in from Main Street Theater:

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 news comes at a time when Main Street is in the middle of a capital funding drive to allow it to completely renovate its other facility in Rice Village. The Chelsea location houses the stage and offices for MST's Theater for Youth. More than 85,000 school children saw performances from it at school and another 15,000 on weekend family matinees, an MST press release said.

"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," the release said.


Main Street is in negotiations to relocate its children's theater for the 2014-15 season. The planned renovation at the Rice Village facility will go forward as planned.

"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."

But the MainStage season will be reduced to just 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."

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing