Benson Theatre

Where Creativity and Community Meet

Originally built in 1923, the Benson Theatre, then known as the Benalto Theatre, served as a vaudeville house, movie theatre, and community space. Though structurally sound, the building had suffered through unsympathetic renovations, which removed much of the original interior and exterior character. Upon opening, the theatre immediately began hosting performances and will now serve as a shared community space for business education, artistic performances, and independent programming. The 225-seat theatre features a variety of seating types and level changes to maximize flexibility. The return of a theatre and community space to Downtown Benson is a natural fit as the area continues to transform into an eclectic and energetic cultural destination for both locals and visitors to Omaha.

Project Details

Omaha, NE

8,770 SF

Scope of Work

Date of Completion
Fall 2021

A major goal for the project was to increase accessibility to the theatre – not just as for spectators, but also for performers. The stage was raised to be level with the main floor, allowing a level access aisle on one side. A ramp to the side of the proscenium leads to a lift behind the stage door which provides access down to the green room as well as up to the stage. This ramp also provides access to all three seating tiers. The historic door trim, stage skirt, limelight trough, and wood floor were salvaged and reinstalled on a new stage structure to restore the theatre’s historic aesthetic.

Photography by William Hess

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