Kalita Humphreys Theater Master Plan

City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture


On December 27, 1959, fans of theater and architecture from around the world looked to Dallas, Texas, as a brand-new company, Dallas Theater Center (DTC), presented its first public performance. The play, Of Time and the River, was directed by the theater’s founding artistic director, Paul Baker, and the production was produced in the theater’s new home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater, designed for DTC by the legendary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Throughout the next sixty years, DTC’s artistry flourished and expanded, requiring significant additions and modifications to the Kalita. DTC added an administrative building to the Kalita campus and built an additional theater in the Dallas Arts District (originally, the Arts District Theater, later replaced by the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center). In 1973, DTC deeded the Kalita to the City of Dallas, which assumed responsibility for its major maintenance and has leased the theater back to DTC since.

In the spring of 2019, with the Kalita in need of significant restoration, the City asked DTC to fund and lead a private effort to create a master plan envisioning the future of the Kalita and the nine acres on which it sits. Inspired by a passion for the Kalita’s architectural history and a commitment to expanding access to theater, arts education, and public green spaces for the people of Dallas, DTC brought together a Steering Committee of committed citizens to select an architect to create the plan.

From the moment the committee first met the visionary geniuses of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, we knew we had found collaborators who would honor the past while conceiving a bold new future. Throughout this process, which included a twenty-one month “pause” when the COVID pandemic intervened, we have been inspired by the passionate engagement of people throughout our community. Theater fans, historic preservationists, parks enthusiasts, city officials, philanthropists, artists and neighbors have come together to inspire and shape this plan.

Collectively, they have joined with us to craft a forward-thinking vision for Dallas. A restored Frank Lloyd Wright building that welcomes 21st century audiences to experience its historic architectural glory while enjoying state of the art productions. A beautiful site that expands green space and space for public use, connects to the Katy Trail above and Turtle Creek below, and provides amenities for park-goers throughout the day. Two new theater spaces that will serve local theater companies, attract new audiences, and inspire artists. Gathering spaces that will activate the site with classes, rehearsals, dining and events year-round.

Ultimately, the City Council will determine if this master plan is adopted. If so, we will reach out to the people of Dallas for their continued engagement and support to realize a vision for our community in which all are welcome to engage with the arts, be inspired by nature, and celebrate our common humanity.

If you have any questions please email at kalita@dallastheatercenter.org.

Jennifer Altabef, Board Chair, Dallas Theater Center
Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director, Dallas Theater Center

Click below to learn more about the Kalita Humphreys Theater Marsterplan:
Executive Summary
Master Plan Report Volume 1
Master Plan Report Volume 2