About Stratford Art Works, Inc.
Founded in 1996, Stratford Art Works, Inc. has initiated and managed important projects serving audiences in Southern Arizona and beyond. Our projects always center around our mission of bringing arts and culture offerings to audiences by connecting artists and the community. Past projects have encompassed numerous genres including performance, video, film, photography, public art, publications and the reclaiming of historic properties for artist live/work and performance spaces.
About the Project
The historic Teatro Carmen, built in 1915, remains largely intact with the original theater space, the pressed metal ceiling, the proscenium arch, all in its original condition. This is the last known remaining theatre building of that era and genre. The theatre is located in Barrio Viejo, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Tucson. The neighborhood is the largest surviving concentration of mud adobe Sonoran rowhouses left in the United States and has a remarkable inventory of intact buildings being used for residential and businesses. The neighborhood, listed on the National Register, is currently being nominated as a National Historic Landmark District. Teatro Carmen is a contributing building to that nomination, due to its rich and diverse cultural history and social importance within the Hispanic community.
Plans for the rehabilitation of the property involve reactivating the original theatre as a 250-300-seat performing arts space and community cultural resource. There will also be an attached restaurant with indoor seating and outdoor patio space.
Rehabilitation projects will include a new roof, fire suppression system, electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems, recreated historic entryway and ticket kiosk, small offices and tech booth above the entrance area, bar/restaurant/kitchen, new flexible seating, theatrical and film projection systems (digital and 16mm), a new stage house, stage and performer support areas and exterior loading area for touring production support.
Extensive historical research is currently underway on multiple aspects of the property’s history to address the Mexican, African-American, and Anglo heritage in future programming. Current timelines for the rehabilitation project a grand reopening in 2024-2025.