1985 – 1986
1992 – 1993
Fundraising Campaign for new sound board.
1996 – 1997
The 1968 Miller Outdoor Theatre was refurbished in 1996. A $6 million expansion and renovation was planned and funded jointly by the City of Houston and Friends of Hermann Park. Ray Bailey Architects designed the improvement package. Roof and siding were replaced, and additional restrooms and office areas were installed. A small stage was added to the east end of the facility, playing to a newly incorporated open plaza area. Additional work and storage space, and a life safety package were installed in the theatre’s backstage area. The renovated MOT building opened in Spring of 1998.
The Theatre Board, with the help of other civic organizations and the approval of the City Parks Department, embarked on an ambitious plan to upgrade the concessions at the Theatre in order to enhance the Theatre experience.
January 3, 2004
Inauguration ceremony for the 51st Houston Mayor Bill White and the new city officials.
Miller Theatre Advisory Board hired long-time Texas arts administrator Paul Beutel to serve as Artistic Director for the theatre and lead the Board’s efforts to increase quality programming. In addition to re-vamping the guidelines for MTAB’s granting process, Beutel also launched a 5-year, $2.5 million funding initiative.
The Miller Theatre Advisory Board launched its own programming initiative, raising funds to present some outstanding international performers. The Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa, the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats, the Mombasa Party and Royal Drummers of Burundi, and acclaimed Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMaster all attracted thousands of delighted attendees and are representative of the diverse, quality, international productions that MTAB plans to bring to Miller to complement the many fine performances by Houston arts organizations.
MTAB hired Cissy Segall Davis to serve as Managing Director to oversee the grants program, maintain high quality programming, manage the Presented Series, and continue fundraising initiatives.
- Increased accessibility and seating options for people with disabilities
- Enhanced pedestrian flow of traffic: reconstruction of the walkway all around the hill, decreasing the incline and making it wider
- New aisle lighting
- New overhead industrial-sized fans for air circulation
- New landscaping
In 2008, a nearly $1.2 million improvement project was undertaken at Miller Outdoor Theatre to enhance both public safety and the overall experience for the audiences. The project increased accessibility for people with disabilities, enhanced the pedestrian flow of traffic and added new lighting along the aisles, all of which increase public safety during performances. Additional enhancements include two huge overhead fans, improved sightlines and increased seating capacities.
“These improvements have made the theatre more accessible for everyone who comes here to enjoy the outdoor performances, ” said Sheila Turkiewicz, assistant director for the Theater District. “It’s an even more perfect place to enjoy a performance under the stars in the heart of Houston.”
Visitors will notice changes not only in the theater itself, but also the hill, walkways and new, fresh landscaping.
“We’ve reconstructed the walkway all around the hill, decreasing the incline and making it wider,” Turkiewicz said. “We’ve also improved accessibility for people with disabilities. While eliminating the need for ramps, we’ve provided direct access from both sides of the theater and added even more seating options.”
- Earthwork to raise the hill’s seating area, new irrigation and new sod
- Installation of a new permanent booth for controlling stage lights and sound
- Installation of 6 new light poles at the back of the hill to light the pedestrian walkway that goes around the hill
- All 1581 of the current aluminum seats under the canopy were removed and1700 new seats were installed.
- Concrete in seating area was resurfaced
- Hill drainage was improved
During the off-season in late 2008/early 2009, an additional $1,000,000 in further improvements was undertaken. The iconic hill was re-graded and raised. New irrigation was installed, new sod laid and drainage improved. New lighting was installed along the pathway around the backside of the hill. The seats under the canopy were replaced and the concrete under the seats given a new texture and color surface. A permanent sound and lighting mix position booth was constructed at the back of the seating area.
Miller Outdoor Theatre opened the 2010 season with a new $1.5 million sound system, the latest upgrade in a sweeping set of $3.9 million in improvements since 2008.
“The new speakers mean that everyone will be able to hear the performance more clearly throughout Miller, regardless of where you’re sitting,” said Dawn Ullrich, director of the city Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department, which manages the city-owned theater in Hermann Park. “Miller is truly in the 21st century with this improvement, and we invite everyone to come hear for themselves. Both audience members and producers will notice.”
The newly installed sound system is state-of-the-art. From its all-digital mixing consoles, snaking and wireless microphones, to the use of line-array speaker systems for both main reinforcement and lawn coverage, the latest technology for every component was carefully identified and utilized. The results yield incredible intelligibility, clarity and fidelity for performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
In 2013 and 2014, Miller Outdoor Theatre underwent a $4.7 million makeover to replace its iconic peaked roof.
“The part of me that harbors so many memories of Miller Theatre is thrilled with the beautiful restoration project completed here,” said Mayor Parker. “The logical left side of my brain that helps governs this city is delighted to say that this job has been completed on time and within budget. All Houstonians should take delight in this wonderful public treasure.”
Managed by the City of Houston General Services Department, construction on the project began on November 4 and was substantially completed on April 15.
The project served to correct canopy deficiencies that have caused leaks at the theater, which was built in 1968. Improvements consisted of replacement of the east and west wings, a new soffit for the main sloped roof, new copper roofing material, and design changes to prevent new leaks. It also includes repairs and replacement of membranes located on the stage house and low stage roof, addressing other leak-prone areas. The project also added a new storage mezzanine area for theatrical equipment, catwalk improvements, electrical, lighting and sound system upgrades.