Reviving History, Building Futures: Forest Forward’s Restoration of the Historic Forest Theater

Reviving History, Building Futures: Forest Forward’s Restoration of the Historic Forest Theater

Image: Forest Forward


Forest Forward, a local nonprofit, recently commenced the renovation of the historic Forest Theater and mixed-use arts facility in South Dallas with a groundbreaking event attended by community members and leaders. Despite its historical importance dating back to 1949 and hosting renowned artists like Sidney Poitier and Tina Turner, the theater has faced chronic challenges and remained vacant since 2009.


As part of its Cultural Capital practice, HR&A Advisors helped translate Forest Forward’s vision for the theater into an economic, fiscal, and cultural impact study that was critical to garnering philanthropic and public capital resources and funding.


The renovation aims not only to restore the theater’s former glory but also to catalyze a broader revitalization effort in the South Dallas community. Plans include transforming the theater into a multifaceted arts center, establishing educational pathways with Dallas ISD, and developing mixed-income housing nearby.


Phase I of the project, funded at $75.215 million, encompasses the restoration of the Forest Theater and the addition of new facilities, including an arts education hub, performance hall, studio theater, and more. Completion is expected by December 2025. The initiative has garnered bipartisan support, with U.S. Representative Jasmine Crockett and others commending its potential impact on economic development and education.


With construction slated for completion by December 2025, the Forest Theater project signifies a pivotal step towards economic development, arts education, and affordable housing in Sunny South Dallas, embodying Forest Forward’s vision for community transformation.



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