Stage West has renamed the theatre’s main stage space to the Jerry Russell Theatre in honor of the organization’s beloved founder and long-time leader.
Russell founded Stage West Oct. 18, 1979, initially on Houston Street in downtown Fort Worth in a 65-seat storefront theatre next to Russell’s European Sandwich Shoppe. The success of the first production necessitated the merging of the two spaces into a modest dinner theatre seating around 100, Stage West said in the announcement.
Before the end of the second season, Stage West had formed a board of directors, and moved to a new 9,000 square foot space at 821 W. Vickery, converting a former warehouse into a theatre with a spacious front area. The theatre remained at that location for 10 more seasons, before buying old TCU movie theater at the corner of University Drive and Berry Street. It sold that property 10 years later and moved to the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.
When Stage West learned that its former space on Vickery was still available, it moved once again and opened at the new-old location after a four-month renovation. As of January 2018, Stage West officially owns its own building.
“The spirit of Jerry’s original model is still in place. And the group is now expanding and renovating its home to more fully reflect the legacy started by Jerry – a professional theatre destination serving Fort Worth, Dallas, and beyond with innovative and entertaining stories that entertain, inspire, and challenge us, and creating an indelible imprint on the cultural landscape of Fort Worth,” Stage West said in the news release.
With the naming of the Jerry Russell Theatre, Stage West also announced that naming rights are available for the space currently known as The Studio for $400,000.
“This space will undergo extensive renovations in the coming year, complete with state of the art equipment and a flexible seating area with up to 200 seats,” the news release said.