The Studio was the brainchild of a number of like minded Little Rock theatre artists and community members who wanted to bring a new brand of community theatre to central Arkansas. While working together on a show in 2013, they saw the community’s need for an all purpose space to be dedicated to the enrichment of Little Rock across a broad range of artistic endeavors. Through the love, kindness, and generosity of the community The Studio Theatre was born. After extensive renovations to a building 320 W. 7th Street, TST opened with You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown in May of 2014. The facility also housed the Community Theatre of Little Rock until 2017 when they moved to North Little Rock. Becoming a 501(c)3 non profit in 2016, The Studio now plays host to the community-wide Dark Night Awards, Arkansas Jazz Society, Arkansas Community Theatre Association’s annual meeting, and our own drag pageant, MX Studio Theatre.
The building itself was erected in 1920 and has been multiple ventures in its 100 year history, most notably the sight of Balfour Printing Co., an iconic local printing business from the 1950s to the early 2000s, and was used by the Occupy Little Rock movement in 2012. The building also served as a furniture store and an artists colony for several years.
Since 2014, The Studio Theatre has carved out its niche in the already theatre-rich Little Rock arts community with our dedication to producing new works, and works not yet seen by our community. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Justin A. Pike and former Executive Directors Bob Bidewell and Mark A. Burbank, The Studio has grown from producing four small shows, to producing nine full length productions in a season, as well as developing a two week summer theatre education intensive. The Studio has also had the opportunity to play host to a number of Arkansas premieres including Fun Home, Rocky of Ages, Blackbird, A Christmas Story – The Musical, Dogfight, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Buyer & Cellar, Hand To God, and in April 2019, TST became the first community theatre in the country to produce the prolific musical War Paint since closing on Broadway in 2017.
In August of 2019, our auditorium was dedicated and named for founder Bob Bidewell for his contribution to our company and his artistic impact across many artistic outlets in our community. To learn more, follow us on social media @studiotheatrelr