In the Beginning
The Missouri Theatre divided its time as a home for both cinematic and live entertainment. However, as vaudeville died out in the late 1940’s, the hall became almost solely a movie house. In 1953, the Missouri Building Company, the theater’s owners, leased the building to Commonwealth Theatres, Inc., now a defunct movie chain. During its tenure, Commonwealth chose to modernize the theater, particularly in the lobby and mezzanine areas. The building retains its historic ambiance and charm, however, especially in the auditorium.
Commonwealth contemplated dividing the theater’s auditorium into three “shoebox” cinemas in an effort to make the venture more profitable. Public outrage erupted and Commonwealth halted its plan. In 1987, the Missouri Symphony Society, a private non-profit organization, bought the theater with help from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The theater now serves as a permanent home for its orchestras – the Missouri Symphony Orchestra which has its own eight-week summer season – and as a performing arts center for the community.
The majestic Missouri Theatre has been rented for a variety of events: musical cabarets, civic gatherings, children’s theater, dance performances, rock concerts, storytelling, lectures/seminars, talent shows, auctions, wedding receptions, Christian concerts, fashion shows, recitals, multicultural events, films, conferences, and many other community functions.
The Missouri Theatre is conveniently located at 203 South Ninth Street in the heart of downtown Columbia on the corner of Ninth and Locust – two blocks south of Broadway, one block north of the University of Missouri campus. Convenient street or garage parking, superb restaurants, wonderful coffee bars, famous antique and art shops, galleries, and a wide variety of other stores surround the Missouri Theatre.
Have a look at the specifications and contact our offices should you have any questions or would like to inquire about dates of availability.