MU officially purchases the Missouri Theatre

Jun 19, 2014

Credit KBIA

MU signed a lease-to-purchase agreement with the Missouri Symphony Society in 2011 that gave the University the option to purchase the theatre.

After leasing the theatre for the past three years, MU has now completed the agreement and purchased the theatre for $3.7 million. The purchase will save the university an estimated $57.8 million in future construction costs that were to be allocated to a new concert hall. The Missouri Symphony Society will continue to use the building for offices and performances.

John Murray, director of events operations at MU, says that the addition of the Missouri Theatre is very important, especially with Jesse Hall closed for renovations until at least next spring.

"So now that we are taking Jesse Auditorium offline for a year, we have 500 events we are trying to squeeze in to Missouri Theatre," said Murray. "Obviously, that's not real practical, but we are going to do as many as we can."

In 2011, Jesse Auditorium hosted 240 events and programs. After leasing the theatre, university officials hosted approximately 500 events in the two buildings in 2013.

The historical theatre was built in 1928 and is Missouri's only remaining pre-depression era movie palace and vaudeville stage.

The Missouri Symphony Society purchased the property in 1987 and completed $12 million dollars in renovations, restoration, and expansion of the building.

Lili Vianello, Missouri Symphony Society Board president, says the transaction allows for the society to focus on their main mission, while ensuring the theatre is in good hands.

"Having the University of Missouri take over the Missouri Theatre allows the Missouri Symphony Society to focus on doing our primary mission, and gets us out of the business of managing a theatre, managing a building and lets us focus on the music," said Vianello