This venue, later named after San Antonio’s first woman mayor Lila Cockrell, was one of three main facilities built as part of the convention center complex. The primary function was to provide additional performing space to meet the city’s growing cultural arts needs.
The theater features approximately 2,300 seats split into three levels.
Located above the two story windows on the front of the theater is a large scale mosaic created by artist Juan O’Gorman that spans the width of the front facade. It is one of two murals commissioned for HemisFair titled “The Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas”.
Lila Cockrell served on the San Antonio city council during the planning, development & run of HemisFair ’68 (1963 – 1970).
During HemisFair the theater hosted several of the day’s top entertainers including:
Vicki Carr & George Kirby
Bahamian Philippine Dancers
Allen & Rossi and Joanie Sommers
Dixieland Jazz Festival
Jack Benny & Baja Marimba Band
Fiddler of the Roof
Houston Symphony / Andre Priven
After the Fair closed the theater began it’s roll of hosting various forms of entertainment: Operas, Musicals, Plays, Symphonies, etc…
Below is a scan of a playbill from the 1969 – 1970 Arts Season.
In the summer of 2010 the theater saw it’s first major renovation since HemisFair ’68. According to the theater’s web site, in concert with the updated interiors the theater’s technology (lighting, cabling, etc…) was also updated. With the renovation now complete the theater can now host the latest performance shows as well as, convention related functions (lectures, presentations, etc…)
Below are photos of the theater after the 2010 renovation.