In The Spotlight
The theater at the heart of Fort Worth's cultural explosion
In a former bus garage, now a 16,000-foot cultural venue, the curtains rise and the lights dim. The audience at Stage West in Fort Worth is about to be transported to medieval Italy, or the near future, or to the White House, or to 221B Baker Street.
Transformed during the pandemic downtime from hard-scrabble ceilings and fraying carpets, Stage West’s home has emerged a theatrical butterfly. Already renowned as a cultural gem within the arts community, Stage West has become more than a performance space; it’s now a vibrant destination for families, neighbors, and friends — as well as the theatrically inclined, of course.
Located in Fort Worth’s trendy Near South Side, Stage West has been a leader in revitalizing the exciting neighborhood. The Near South Side district is just a stone’s throw from downtown Fort Worth, bursting with the creative energy of entrepreneurs and dreamers.
A theater for all
At the heart of this hub is Stage West, a local engine of artistic excellence that’s been dazzling audiences since its inception in a humble sandwich shop in 1979. Thanks to founder Jerry Russell’s vision, the theater has grown into a place where Fort Worth’s cultural explorers gather for plays and films, mingle with neighbors, eat sandwiches, and discover new passions.
The welcoming, relaxed vibe of Stage West makes it approachable for all, from those stepping into a theater for the first time to seasoned aficionados. The warm ambience is reminiscent of its roots in Russell’s sandwich shop, where the integration of The Lobby Cafe continues to offer patrons a culinary prelude to the theatrical feast. Whether it’s the savory allure of a pre-theater meal or the sweet temptation of intermission treats, the experience at Stage West is one of comfort, creativity, and delight.
45th anniversary season
Stage West’s current season is both thrilling and unique. Each production is a carefully chosen piece of storytelling meant to entertain, inspire, and challenge. The theater’s commitment to presenting diverse, thought-provoking works means that whether you’re a local or a traveler, you’re guaranteed to find something in the program that sparks conversation and stirs the soul.
The 45th season at Stage West features a wide variety of offerings. Next up is Poor Clare, the origin story of Saint Clare of Assisi told through a modern vernacular and with gorgeous design elements. It runs November 30-December 17, 2023.
Following in January is Marjorie Prime, a stirring tale that blurs the line between human memory and artificial intelligence. It runs January 18-February 11, 2024.
POTUS bursts onto the North Texas scene March 7-24, 2024.. This not-to-be-missed, foul-mouthed, and funny farce has been taking the nation by storm as the most-produced play of 2023-24.
The summer months round out the season’s lineup with audience favorites including a fun new Sherlock Holmes story (June 6-23, 2024), followed by The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s much-loved farce that's forever recognized as one of the great plays of all times (September 5-22, 2024).
In addition to these mainstage plays, countless other events fill the calendar such as First Tuesdays, classes, and other drop-ins.
Explore the neighborhood
But the allure of the Near Southside neighborhood doesn’t end with the final bows at Stage West. The area teems with cultural spots that beg exploration.
Leaves Books & Tea serves as a sanctuary for those seeking solace in the written word and the warmth of a well-brewed cup.
After the show, Twilite Lounge invites night owls to revel in its New Orleans-inspired patio bar. Record Town, an institution in itself, is the go-to place for vinyl fans, offering a palpable connection to Fort Worth’s musical heritage.
For the socially active and the competitively inclined, Bowlounge offers a spirited mix of bowling, food, and fun, and Stumpy’s Hatchet House will scratch everyone’s axe-throwing itch. And for those who wish to prolong their Near South Side experience, Three Danes Bed & Breakfast offers the cozy comforts of home with a side of Danish hospitality.
With such a tapestry of experiences, the Near South Side is a destination that promises a festive journey through food, music, literature, and live performance. It’s a place where culture is lived and breathed, inviting one and all to partake in its offerings.
“Indulge in savings, not sin!”
And now, to add even more incentive to experience this extravaganza and in honor of Poor Clare, Stage West announces its “Black Friar-Day Sale,” a four-day event from November 24-27 featuring ‘medieval markdown madness.’ It’s a sale that would make even the most frugal monk rejoice: 50 percent off tickets that beckon the wise and the thrifty.
This is the chance to treat yourself and your loved ones to a theatrical feast that delights the senses without the guilt of grand expenditure.
Whether you’re planning a day trip or seeking a holiday outing, a visit to Fort Worth’s Near South Side — crowned by an evening at Stage West — is the perfect blend of relaxation, entertainment, and enrichment.
So mark your calendars and visit the Near South Side for an experience that only Fort Worth can offer. Welcome to 24 hours of culture, community, and unparalleled theater — welcome to Stage West!
To purchase single tickets or a season subscription, visit Stage West online or call 817-784-9378.