The OMAHYPE arts blog.

Benson nonprofit buys historic theater


After two years of fundraising efforts, the Benson Theatre nonprofit collected over $309,000 in donations and was able to purchase the historic vaudeville theater located near 61st and Maple streets. The next step for the Benson Theatre will be the restoration of its classic stage. Once complete, the theater will serve as a shared community space for business education and artistic performance.

“This physical space will be utilized by many in the metro area and will foster economic growth within our community,” Benson Theatre director Amy Ryan said in a press release. “We’re thrilled to reach this milestone and purchase the building.”

Ryan also operates the Pizza Shoppe and Pizza Shoppe Collective, both located adjacent to the Benson Theatre space.

Aside from serving as an alternative stage in north Omaha for the metro’s existing nonprofits, schools and performing arts organizations, the Benson Theatre will have independent programming focusing on education during the day and entertainment at night.

As it currently sits, the 91-year-old building is in need of a full renovation, so the Benson Theatre now aims to raise an additional $1.2 million in funding, which includes the first two years of the nonprofit’s operating expenses.

No timeline was given for the theater’s opening. From the rendering, it also looks like they’ll be taking over that old bong shop next door, as well. Nice.



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