Free public tours of the historic Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Centre return at 12 noon, Tuesday, March 8. The tours, which are sponsored by El Paso Live and the El Paso Community Foundation, resume after being on hiatus since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tours will be available every Tuesday at noon, with exception on event days, and registration is recommended. Availability is first come, first served. Those interested may reserve a spot by calling 915-544-0600. Groups of 20 or more may make special arrangements by calling ahead.
Tours are conducted by El Paso Community Foundation staff and volunteers. Tours last about an hour and include stops in the lobbies, foyer, and the star-lit “courtyard” auditorium, where the theater’s original Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ is often featured. The tours also include the Philanthropy Theatre and Alcantar Sky Garden in the adjoining Plaza Theatre Annex.
“We’re very excited to welcome patrons into our historic theatre, for free,” said José Garcia, President, and CEO of Destination El Paso, which manages the theater for the City of El Paso. “The El Paso Community Foundation staff provides a detailed and rich history during the tour – perfect for visitors and residents alike.”
“The Plaza Theatre is a crown jewel for downtown. The tours offer important historical insight into all our community: lessons in grit, perseverance, and especially philanthropy,” said Eric Pearson, president of the El Paso Community Foundation, which restored the Plaza in partnership with the City of El Paso in 2006. “The Plaza Theatre should inspire everyone about possibilities, and it underscores the importance of the arts in economic development as well.”
The Plaza Theatre opened on September 12, 1930, as a single screen atmospheric movie palace, designed by Dallas architect W. Scott Dunne. The interior design of the 2,050-seat theater emulates a hacienda from the 17th century Spanish Colonial revival period.
The theater was closed for more than 20 years before reopening on March 17, 2006, following a $42 million restoration by the El Paso Community Foundation and the City of El Paso. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with national significance.
The Plaza Theatre is operated by El Paso Live, a division of Destination El Paso. For information about the Plaza Theatre and its event schedule, go to elpasolive.com or call 915-534-0600.
The Plaza Theatre is the home of the El Paso Community Foundation’s Plaza Classic Film Festival, which celebrates its 15th year July 28-August 7. Watch for announcements about this year’s festival coming soon.