The Dallas Theater Scene
The Dallas Theater SceneMDS Home Feature
Name: Brad Pritchett
Neighborhood: Oak Lawn
Company/Title: American Heart Association, Regional Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Volunteerism: Co-Chairman for Black Tie Dinner, the nation’s largest LGBTQ charity event.
Over the past five years, what changes have you seen in arts and culture in Downtown Dallas and the region?
I was born and raised in Dallas, so to see where we have come is truly astonishing. Art is transformative; it changes lives and causes reactions – I think the people of Dallas are finally paying attention to that. From the interest in the community to the leadership from former Mayor Rawlings, more emphasis is being placed on the importance of arts engagement. More and more producers of the arts are paying more attention to programmatic diversity, strategic partnerships amongst arts institutions and emphases on patron loyalty. For us to sustain the art form, we must continue these types of initiatives and use our voices to advocate daily.
Being a native Dallasite, what made you Say Yes to staying in the Dallas Region?
I have had the opportunity to travel the world, live in different cities, states and even countries, but I keep coming back to Dallas. There is a certain synergy here – a pulse that unites us. There is a dedication to become and remain diverse in our offerings and in our people. Dallas is one of the fastest growing cities in the country now, and we have the ability to cultivate all of these new residents into ballet-loving, Picasso-obsessing and Shakespeare-adoring residents. The opportunities in this city are what have kept me here and what have brought in more than 140,000 new residents in the past five years. I have no plans on leaving anytime soon, and I welcome every single new face that comes our way!
What is your favorite Arts District space?
Hands down it’s the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre [at the AT&T Performing Arts Center]. The space is one of the world’s more innovative theater facilities. When we first started to hear and see the plans for the venue, many at Dallas Theater Center, where I worked at the time, couldn’t wrap our heads around the 10-level building that takes the word “flexible” to a whole new level. Designed by REX | OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus, and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre has a groundbreaking design that completely rethinks how we have traditionally experienced theater until now. From the extruded anodized aluminum rods on the exterior of the building to the magnetic wall leading up to the performance chamber, patrons are in for a treat when they come to this venue. Depending on the director’s choice, the seats, stage, and levels can be reconfigured each time a new show takes place. Since Dallas Theater Center moved in five years ago, we’ve had our patrons sit ringside at a wrestling match in The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, be pushed around by the actors in seats that moved in The Wiz, lounge in leather recliners and sofas in Second City Does Dallas, and thrown smack dab in the middle of a football field in Colossal. Needless to say, if you haven’t checked out the Wyly yet, then it better be first on your to-do list.
What’s a hidden gem of the Arts District?
I continue to learn more and more about the offerings of Klyde Warren Park each and every time I visit. The park itself is no longer a hidden gem, but with a host of activities every day, there is a lot to do that many people don’t know about; from fitness to food trucks and concerts to chess, there is something for everyone!
What’s your favorite Arts District event?
During the holiday season, The Arts District is transformed into a magical winter wonderland with dazzling lights, tons to do with the family, and visual and performing arts options every single day to help the most bah humbug of visitors get right into the holiday spirit.
What would surprise people most about the Dallas arts scene?
That it is affordable, accessible, and inclusive! Not only are there numerous cheap and free options in The Arts District, but Dallas hosts a plethora of festivals, exhibitions, shows, and performances all over town that won’t break your bank.
For someone new to Dallas and only just getting acquainted with The Arts District, where would you recommend getting started?
I would suggest checking out visitdallas.com to see a pretty comprehensive listing of arts and culture events. The website is informative and can link you right to all the sites that will surely have your to-do list full within minutes.
What is your idea of a perfect day in the Dallas Region?
It’s hard to compete with Sunday in this great city. So this is how mine would go down: I’d grab a few of my closest friends and we would start off early by heading over to Bishop Arts and grabbing coffee and breakfast at Oddfellows. We’d head back to Uptown and join the rest of the fitness-minded Dallasites for a quick run on the Katy Trail. We would follow that up with lunch — and by lunch I mean mimosas — at Company Cafe. Next, we head over to Klyde Warren Park to relax and people-watch before a quick walk through the Dallas Museum of Art. We’d have dinner at Savor. After dinner, we would head over to The Rustic and grab a seat at a picnic table and enjoy some awesome live music and ice-cold drinks. If we still have any energy left, we would spend the last few hours of our epic day checking out some of the country’s more entertaining performers in the Rose Room at Station 4. Lastly, I’d pray that there weren’t any meetings that snuck their way into my calendar before 10 AM the next day!
Photo Courtesy of Hoyoung Lee