CAMPUS THEATRE IN DENTON, TEXAS
Experience the Arts in One of the Oldest Community Theatres in North Texas
Denton's Campus Theatre is home to year-round productions from Denton Community Theatre and Music Theatre of Denton who make up Theatre Denton. In addition to performances on the stage of this iconic theatre, Theatre Denton also offers classes, summer classes, and youth productions.
The Campus Theatre was a grand movie house built in 1949 in downtown Denton. The manager for Interstate Theatres in Denton at the time impressed the importance of this project upon his company: Denton was in need of a movie theatre that would cater to the "kids on the campus" (University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University). As a result, the Campus Theatre Movie-House was built. At the time of its construction, the Campus Theatre was one of several state-of-the-art movie houses in the southwest. The Campus Theatre remained open and operational as a movie house until 1985 when it closed and was left vacant. Many lives were touched by the Campus Theatre as it was the place to go on Saturday mornings to see picture shows, bring dates, and see the latest movie in the plush theatre.
In late 1990, the Campus Theatre was purchased by the Greater Denton Arts Council (GDAC) with the help from the Denton Community Theatre (DCT). During the summer of 1991, all Greater Denton arts organizations and other interested citizens were asked for their comments, ideas, and opinions on the project. Alan Nelson and a team of theatrical consultants compressed their ideas and developed schematics for a workable theatre that includes dance, music, theatre and other multiple-discipline uses.
The Campus Theatre provides the first permanent home for all performing arts organizations. A semi-thrust stage, three hundred seat proscenium house, offices for arts groups, scene & paint shop, dressing & make-up rooms, and ticket sales facilities are part of this edifice. Alan Nelson kept the art deco design of the building intact. The concession area of the building was not disturbed and Nelson used the colors from the original terrazzo floor (reds, greens, and whites) to base the color scheme throughout the building. Many local and area businesses were hired to help re-finish the theatre during the renovation. Texas Woman’s University Art department was asked to re-paint the original mural on the staircase leading up to the balcony area.
The Campus Theatre started construction in July 1994 and opened its doors for the grand re-opening on July 6, 7, and 8, 1995. Over 1,200 people came to the ceremonies. All the arts groups in Denton - Denton Light Opera Company, Denton Bach Society, Denton Civic Ballet, Denton Community Band, Denton Community Theatre, and university faculty and students- joined together to produce "A Salute to Movie Musicals" as the premiere performance in the Campus Theatre.
These days, it is said that a little bit of Campus Theatre history is still present in the form of the ghost of J.P. Harrison, the theatre's manager. Performers and staff have experienced paranormal activity such as disappearing objects, flickering lights, and footsteps when no one is around. It may not be a haunted house, but a theatre haunted by mischievous Mr. Harrison may be the haunted experience you're looking for.
214 W. Hickory Street, Denton, TX 76201