Exploring the Theatres in Columbia, MO: A Guide to the Largest Theatre

Columbia, Missouri is a vibrant city known for its lively arts and culture scene. And at the heart of this scene are the numerous theatres that dot the city. From small community theatres to grand performance venues, there is no shortage of options for theatre lovers in Columbia. But when it comes to size, there is one theatre that stands out above the rest - The Missouri Theatre.

The History of The Missouri Theatre

The Missouri Theatre, also known as the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, is a historic theatre located in downtown Columbia.

It was built in 1928 and was originally known as the "Center Theatre". The theatre was designed by the renowned Chicago-based architectural firm Rapp and Rapp, who were known for their grand and opulent designs. Over the years, The Missouri Theatre has undergone several renovations and restorations to maintain its grandeur and keep up with modern technology. In 2008, it underwent a major restoration project that cost over $10 million. The theatre was reopened in 2009 and has since become a popular venue for concerts, plays, musicals, and other performances.

The Grandeur of The Missouri Theatre

Walking into The Missouri Theatre is like stepping back in time.

The grand lobby features marble floors, ornate chandeliers, and a stunning staircase that leads up to the balcony. The auditorium itself is a sight to behold with its intricate plasterwork, gold leaf accents, and a stunning ceiling mural. The theatre has a seating capacity of 1,200 and boasts state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. It also has a large stage with a proscenium arch, making it the perfect venue for large-scale productions. The Missouri Theatre has hosted a variety of performances over the years, including Broadway shows, ballets, operas, and concerts by world-renowned artists.

The Missouri Theatre Today

Today, The Missouri Theatre continues to be a hub for arts and culture in Columbia.

It is home to the Missouri Symphony Orchestra and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. The theatre also offers educational programs for children and adults, including workshops, masterclasses, and summer camps. In addition to its main auditorium, The Missouri Theatre also has a smaller black box theatre called the "Macklanburg Playhouse". This intimate space is used for smaller productions and events.

Other Theatres in Columbia

While The Missouri Theatre may be the largest theatre in Columbia, it is certainly not the only one. The city is home to several other theatres that offer a diverse range of performances.

The Rhynsburger Theatre

is located on the University of Missouri campus and is home to the MU Department of Theatre.

It has a seating capacity of 500 and hosts a variety of plays and musicals throughout the year.

The Talking Horse Productions

is a community theatre that puts on a variety of shows, from classic plays to original works. It has a small but cozy space with a seating capacity of 75.

The Maplewood Barn Community Theatre

is an outdoor theatre that puts on productions during the summer months. It is located in Nifong Park and has a seating capacity of 200.


Columbia, MO may be a small city, but it certainly has no shortage of theatres. From the grand and historic Missouri Theatre to the intimate community theatres, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

So the next time you find yourself in Columbia, be sure to catch a show at one of these amazing theatres.

Randal Swed
Randal Swed

Extreme music lover. Devoted pop culture lover. Subtly charming bacon buff. Hipster-friendly social media buff. Infuriatingly humble pop culture specialist. Evil communicator.

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