ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – Welcome to the Ector Theatre, a labor of love.
The Ector is ready to welcome guests back, after a lengthy hiatus, lasting since 2016.
The Ector was undergoing renovations, which finished last August during the pandemic. For quite some time, all 756 of the venue’s seats sat empty. That is, until today.
“All of a sudden, you walk in like… it’s like a rave,” said Randy Ham, Executive Director of Odessa Arts.
The grand unveiling of The Ector’s renovations included a brief light show with a spectacular performance by local artists Eric Baker and Ibrahim Martinez.
“We have been sitting in our empty houses, our empty theaters, and our empty museums, waiting for that time to safely welcome people back,” Ham said.
Today, people walked across the funky patterned carpet, a replica from The Ector in the 1950s. The building’s front has the same look, too; so do the wood fixtures.
“So, people that grew up here and have memories of The Ector can come in and say, ‘Oh, it looks just like I remember’,” Ham said.
But there’s new changes. Randy says there is a state-of-the-art sound system and lighting system. He calls it, “marriage of the old and the new.”
The Ector’s renovations complete the fixings of a bigger plan. A plan in partnership with Odessa Arts and the City of Odessa to bring vibrancy to the businesses and nightlife in downtown Odessa.
“For the next decade, downtown is going to be looking better and better,” said Reece Eoff, executive director of the Ector Theatre. “All the talent, everybody would go off to Las Vegas, or LA, or Dallas, or Austin…Odessa can keep its talent here.”
Toby Eoff owns the Odessa Marriott, just steps away from The Ector.
“The Ector is just one of the other catalysts. It was the anchor for the whole project,” Eoff said. “The city had a vision for building this whole complex… we just bought into that vision.”
So, what’s it going to look like once people take their seats? What about COVID-19?
“You can get as close together as you want,” said Reece Eoff. “If you’re not comfortable with that, and you want to follow old regulations, you can get as far from anybody as you want.”
Comedian Steve Trevino will be the first to take the stage, next Saturday, April 15th.
The Ector says this is a good start, like a test run: to see how the attendees impact local parking, how the new technology fares, and just how the audience reacts.
For more information on The Ector Theatre’s future lineup, you can click here.