Multimillion-dollar Riverview Theater face-lift begins soon

Riverview Theater renovations could cost Shreveport Opera $50,000 to $70,000

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Riverview Theater has been a fixture of the performing arts in downtown Shreveport for half a century.

In just a few months, it will get a much-needed face-lift.

But the project will force several groups to find a temporary home. And it won't be cheap. That's because Riverview is virtually a free venue for them, except for operating costs.

Then there's the loss of concession revenue, and also having to pay for a temporary home, all until Riverview is ready after June of next year.

For the past half-century, Riverview Theater has served as the home for performance artists ranging from the opera to the ballet and the symphony orchestra.

Now Riverview is about to undergo a year-long transformation to improve everything from seating to making it more handicap accessible. And at the top of the list, improving the restrooms especially, the ladies room.
Steve Aiken, the Shreveport Opera General & Artistic Director told us, "There have been numerous operas where intermissions were going very long because we had a line of 30 women trying to get into the restroom at intermission."

The $3.2 million facelift at Riverview Hall and Theater has been years in the making. The timing of when it starts, in June, is no accident either. That's because it allows for the seasons to end for the opera, the ballet and the symphony.

The Shreveport Symphony Orchestra will perform seven of its 8 performances, starting in September at First Baptist Church of Shreveport on Ockley Drive, with their one-year re-location.

It is expected to cost an extra 30-thousand dollars overall next season.

The Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet is expected to pay an extra 50-grand during their next season while away from Riverview.

But, when it comes to the Shreveport Opera, Aiken estimated they'll likely be hardest hit financially of the three groups, "because we're the one organization that has big scenery and lots of props and large casts."

That's why Aiken said he expects they'll pay an extra $50,000 to $75,000 next season, while moving temporarily to the historic Strand Theatre, also in downtown Shreveport.

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