The Woodlawn Theatre first opened its doors in 1946 as a venue of esteem and prestige. The theatre was designed by John Eberson (1875–1954), an American architect best known for his movie palace designs in the atmospheric theatre fashion. In 1960, the legendary Academy-Award winner John Wayne hosted the world premiere of his movie, The Alamo. For years to follow, Woodlawn Theatre continued as an elegant venue for Hollywood films.
In 1975, the theatre was purchased by Santikos Theatres, but it eventually fell upon hard times and was forced to shut down.
Throughout the years, the theatre slowly deteriorated and fell through the hands of a number of tenants. In 1979, an acting group known as San Antonio Theater Center was housed there. In 1986, the Woodlawn premiered the laser-show tribute to Pink Floyd, while hosting a series of jazz and blues concerts. In 2005, the last temporary tenant, known as Actors Theater of San Antonio, vacated the property.
It wasn't until 2006 that the venue was revamped and major portions of the building were rebuilt. The Woodlawn Theatre was then transformed into a live performance community theatre, hosting mostly Broadway-style shows.
In 2012, Woodlawn Theatre Inc. was formed as a non-profit organization by current building owners, Kurt and Sherry Wehner. The theatre continued as a live performance venue offering musical productions, and eventually developed an educational theatre arts program for young performers, Woodlawn Academy for the Performing Arts.
In 2013, Woodlawn Theatre was honored with the official title 'City of San Antonio Historic Structure' and is now known as one of San Antonio's historical landmarks.
Today, Woodlawn Theatre is devoted to creating opportunities for its surrounding community by providing quality, entertaining, educational, and affordable programming for all ages. Its mission is to assist in sustaining the tradition of theatre while contributing to the lives of local artists and to enrich the community by encouraging young adults to participate in the arts.
Legends from the past are once again smiling proudly on Woodlawn Theatre. Its history is being rewritten with new legends from the Woodlawn Theatre yet to come.
Historic Photo Gallery