Resounds: Alberta Bair Theater
After thirty-three years, the Alberta Bair Theater has undergone a much needed $13.6 million renovation! ABT Executive Director Jan Dietrich discusses the renovation process and highlights some of the improvements and enhancements in this on-site conversation and tour with Resounds co-host Corby Skinner.
While finishing touches will be completed in October 2020, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the theater is unsure of when it can open for business.
The Alberta Bair Theater's mission is to bring the excitement of the performing arts to the Big Sky Country through quality programming, arts education, cultural diversity, community partnerships and exceptional customer service. Serving as an important cultural anchor for south central Montana and northern Wyoming, the Alberta Bair Theater is the largest, fully-equipped performing arts venue between Denver and Spokane, drawing more than 100,000 people annually.
Historically, the Alberta Bair Theater has been a mecca for the arts for 90 years. Built in downtown Billings on the site of the homestead of the theater's namesake, Alberta Bair, its legacy started when the glamorous art deco style Fox Theatre opened in 1931. In 1987, after major restorations, it reopened as the Alberta Bair Theater. Now, three decades later, the Alberta Bair Theater is prepared to assure audiences that live performing arts will continue for generations to come with state-of-the art acoustics, lighting, ADA compliant features, and more comfort and convenience for the patrons.
The 1,400-seat theater is the main presenter in a four-state region with world-class public and school performances annually. In keeping with the mission, the theater provides cultural diversity to a predominantly white, underserved and geographically isolated population. ABT also prides itself as a leader in arts education, introducing the performing arts to 22,000 students from 130 public, private, and tribal schools. Thousands of children often experience their first glimmerings of cultural literacy at special school shows at the ABT.