Sullivan Performing Arts Center
& John Thomas Theatre

Texarkana Independent School District’s Sullivan Performing Arts Center features a monumental front entry marked by two towering columns that accentuate the 43,000 square feet structure. Copper-tone metal panels emphasize the elegant curves of the three story lobby clad with high performance and energy efficient glass. The free flowing lobby space is large enough to comfortably accommodate eager patrons before the performance or during intermission. Light and airy structural tube columns, at the perimeter of the lobby, add to the sense of grandeur throughout the space.

Rhythmically placed massive columns within the lobby space are finished with tumbled limestone at the lower portion to give them a distinguished and timeless feel. The column’s upper portion, contrastingly, is shrouded by wire mesh to lighten them visually as they penetrate the ceiling. Complimenting the wire mesh of the columns is an elegant stainless steel and copper mesh railing which leads guests up the sculptural stairs to the second floor.

The John Thomas Theatre comfortably seats 1,000 patrons in premium theatre seating amid warm earth tones which create a soothing and comfortable setting for all performances. A sloped floor and terrace seating offers superior sight lines and optimized viewing while side seating boxes provide for an intimate viewing experience.

A dual catwalk system, with tech galleries on both sides, allows for flexible spotlight positions and doubles as unique staging positions for actors during a performance. One can easily imagine Romeo saying, “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?” from these cleverly designed tech galleries.

Acoustics, audio, video and lighting systems have been designed to accommodate multiple styles of performances. Variable acoustics have been incorporated into the space through the use of operable curtains on both sides of the theatre at seating and tech gallery levels. This allows the room to be “tuned” for varying shows. For enhancing classical and choral performances, the burnished masonry walls would be fully exposed. During a Broadway style musical, the curtain would be required to be partially closed for intelligibility while a contemporary music performance that is driven by a beat, would have the curtains closed to cover the walls in order to reduce reverberation.

The state-of-the-art audio system features a digital mixing console with the ability to store or recall shows and scenes. For audience sound enhancement, eighty-five microphone inputs surround the stage and orchestra pit. And, to cue performers, there is a paging system to the dressing rooms and back of house spaces.

A theatrical lighting console controls 288 dimmers and 115 moving light fixtures throughout the theatre space. Lighting positions include four electrics over the stage, one in front of the proscenium, two on the catwalks and four positions in the tech gallery.

A High-Definition compatible video system with eight camera locations throughout the theatre offers fiber connections back to the main campus control room to allow for video production and television broadcasts of performances.

Providing the ultimate in performance flexibility is a mechanized lift that can conceal an orchestra below floor level for a performance or set at floor level to allow for additional seating. When raised to the stage level, it creates a thrust stage increasing intimacy between performers and the audience. Further, a soaring fly loft sitting above the spacious stage has been sized to handle a wide range of scenery.

Backstage, positioned between two large dressing areas with lockers and restrooms, performers enjoy a large makeup room with fourteen individual stations featuring mirrors and Hollywood lights. Supporting the theatrical productions is a fully equipped Scene Shop for the creation of performance backdrops. Ample storage is provided for costumes, props and various equipment.

Before the performers hit the stage, practice takes place in the oversized Choir and Drama rooms. The Choir Room is provided with flexible risers and has four adjoining private practice rooms. The Drama Room also doubles as a black box theatre and the footprint is equivalent to that of the theatre stage so that performers may exactly replicate the performance during practice. Additionally, there are two fullsize classrooms equipped with computer outlets networked to Texas High School and situated so that they can also provide supplemental dressing areas for larger performances or can function as green rooms.