In Billings, Montana, Alberta Bair offers a theater ripe with various artistic performances and educational opportunities. A large theater that seats 1,390 guests, Alberta Bair is an essential part of Billing’s arts culture.
It is the only theater between Denver, Colorado, and Spokane, Washington that is fully capable of hosting large performances by major touring companies.
The theater has hosted many famous shows and performances, including Cirque du Soleil and Chicago. The theater also showcases local talent as well, having also hosted smaller, locally produced performances, such as concerts for the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale.
Aside from being one of the few theaters in Montana to host local and touring performers, the theater also has helped support the Billings theater community through education.
The theater hosts a wide range of educational opportunities such as tours and outreach activities.
The theater also attempts to make performances more accessible by providing discounts on specifically designed matinees to eligible students.
With a rich history and wide variety of shows, the theater is well-liked by most locals. It’s definitely worth seeing a show or two here, especially as there are often so many shows to choose from.
Whether it’s a local play or a large touring musical, the theater has something that everyone can enjoy.
The History of Albert Bair
Alberta Bair has an interesting history and is one of the older theaters in Montana. Originally opening as Fox Theater the building has existed for over eighty years. Funded partially by the 20th Century Fox Corporation, it was designed by Robert C. Reamer.
The original building had an elegant Art Deco design with marble surfaces and red and blue carpets. Opening in 1931, The theater originally showcased both movies and performances throughout its first years.
The theater, unfortunately, declined in the 50s and 60s. It was later purchased in the 70s by Carsich Theaters in hopes of reviving the theater and turning it into a venue that primarily showcased movies.
The Fox Committee and community members stopped this from happening by raising funds to renovate and save the building.
Originally the homestead of the Charles M. Bair family, their daughter Alberta Bair donated to the theater 1987. The theater was then renamed the Alberta Bair Theater in her honor.
During 2019 and 2020, the theater underwent major renovations to modernize the building and make it more accessible. The theater reopened in September 2020 and has brand new seating and now has an elevator.
Today the theater is quite successful and is one of the few places in the area to offer large performances.
Educational Opportunities and Community Programs
Alberta Bair offers many educational opportunities and programs to the Billings community. Their community programs serve over 25,000 students yearly, helping make the arts more accessible to people within the town.
Some of their programs include matinees for students, professional development workshops, outreach activities, tours, and ticket vouchers.
Their matinee performances for students are offered at discounted prices and are usually shows that are shorter, typically one hour. T
he shows are usually accessible to all grade levels and allow school classes to sit together. Additionally, these events come with study guides and discussion questions.
The tours are also a popular way for students to learn more about the theater. They are for students ages 7 and up and offer a chance for students to learn more about the theater’s history and allow them to go backstage.
Alberta Bair Details
- Address: 2801 3rd Ave N, Billings, MT 59103
- Contact number: 406-256-6052
- Website: https://www.albertabairtheater.org/
- Box Office Hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm
Upcoming Events (2022)
- TaikoProject: April 29, 7:30 pm
- MeatEater Live with Steven Rinella & Friends: May 3, 7:30 pm
- Night Ranger: June 1, 7:30 pm
- Lonestar: June 11, 7:30 pm
- Trace Adkins: August 2, 7:30 pm