On the Trail

Interactive true-crime walking tour steals away into downtown Houston

Interactive true-crime walking tour steals away into downtown Houston

Art Heist Houston downtown
Meet curious characters and solve a big case. Photo courtesy of SPA/Art Heist

In the vein of popular walking tours, a new theatrical experience is coming to the George R. Brown Convention Center this March.

Called Art Heist, the immersive show explores the true-life — and still unsolved — case of the world's biggest art theft: when half a billion dollars in paintings disappeared from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

Written by theater artist TJ Dawe, who also directed the show with Ming Hudson, the interactive experience recently premiered to sold-out crowds at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and has sold out shows at San Antonio’s Tobin  Center for the Performing Arts and Austin’s Paramount Theater.

It relies on a socially distanced, outdoor setting as a safe way to experience theater, and promises no two performances will be the same.

Small groups depart from the Wings Over Water sculpture at George R. Brown and visit walkable locations throughout downtown Houston, gathering clues and interrogating suspects to try and determine whodunnit. Expect to meet several career criminals and con artists, including a possible inside man, a feared mastermind, and a gentle psychopath.

At the end, teams will submit their guesses for the robber and get to pose inside a giant art frame.

Each 90-minute performance promises to be unique, and start times staggered every 30 minutes help keep groups intimate.

Art Heist runs March 9-28, with tickets starting at $39.50. Start times every 30 minutes, 6–8pm on weekdays; 2-3:30pm and 5:30-8pm on weekends. 

Call the Society for the Performing Arts box office at 713-227-4772 or visit the website to buy.