Tim Shane in front of the Pierrot painting outside of the Dallas Hub Theater

Dallas Hub Theater: 2005-2010

Tim Shane lets the troubled space go, and plans to continue his entertainment ventures at another venue.

published Friday, November 26, 2010

Five-and-a-half years after it opened, the Dallas Hub Theater has closed. Tim Shane, artistic director and executive director of Shane-Arts, opened the Hub in 2005. His jobs there included producer, director, actor and maintenance man, to name a few, has been busy moving the equipment out of the Deep Ellum space.

The building's owners put up "For Lease" signs on Wednesday, and Shane says there is already interest from several neighboring businesses.

The Hub was the home base of Shane-Arts, the umbrella group for Commedia dell'Carte, The Comedy Killers and SATER. When he opened the Hub with the help of actor Jeff Swearingen, Audacity Theatre Lab and Bootstraps Comedy Theater were the other resident companies. Audacity never performed there, though, and Bootstraps later moved to another space before its founder, Matt Lyle, moved to Chicago.

The Hub became the first home for myriad other local groups who have since moved on to new spaces, including Upstart Productions, Broken Gears Theatre Project, Muscle Memory Dance Theatres and Level Ground Arts. Included among the more than 30 companies that performed in either or both of the space's two 99-seat theaters are the Butterfly Connection, MBS Productions, DFW Playwrights Alliance, Dead Girl Circus, Velvet Kittens and Lollie Bombs.

"We called it the 'Hub" so we could develop shows there and send them out," says Shane. "The original concept was that all our shows could fit in the back of a pick-up truck and travel elsewhere."

Several shows that originated at the Hub ended up touring the country, including the hit Nipples to the Wind. The Hub was also home to the DFW Fringe Festival for five years, and Shane plans to continue producing that event elsewhere in town.

"It was one of the things that put us on the map," Shane says. "It gave a lot of performers here and outside of Dallas a shot."

Shane says he couldn't keep paying for the space, which was once called "The Money Pit" in a Dallas Observer story.

Shane estimates that since he began leasing the space in late 2004 (the first show didn't go up until April 2005), he has put about $1.5 million into it, including paying $12,000 monthly in rent. When there were problems with the air-conditioning or plumbing, he was often the person fixing them.

The Hub definitely had its problems—an unpleasant odor, a leaky roof and deadly heat that the air-conditioning units couldn't handle in August. Level Ground's summer 2010 production of Poseidon! An Upside-Down Musical, was a nightmare for the cast and audience, for instance. But it did provide an important launching pad for area artists.

Shane has been collecting stories about his experience at the Hub, which he hopes to turn into a book some day. He'll be sharing some of them on TheaterJones in the coming weeks and months.

And this doesn't mean that Shane-Arts is dead. The Comedy Killers have been performing in the Boiler Room in Deep Ellum, and Shane is looking for another spot to carry on his entertainment brand.

Shane talks about it all in this video.

 Thanks For Reading


Mark-Brian Sonna writes:
Monday, November 29 at 9:36PM

Small correction: MBS Productions did not get started at the HUB Theater. We already had our space at the Stone Cottage Theatre and we came out of Teatro Dallas' space. We presented our show "Kiss The Boys" at the HUB for two performances during the first Fringe Festival in order to get the festival started. I wish Tim Shane the best of luck. It is sad to hear of a theatre venue closing.

Mark Lowry writes:
Tuesday, November 30 at 7:48AM

Noted and fixed in story. Thanks.

Brad McEntire, Artistic Director of Audacity Theatre Lab writes:
Wednesday, December 1 at 2:25AM

Another small correction: Audacity Productions (the forerunner of today's Audacity Theatre Lab) was NOT a resident company at the Hub. We rehearsed a single production, GOSPEL OF THE JUNKYARD, at the space for a span of three weeks. This was our only connection with the Dallas Hub Theatre. All the best to Tim as well. Always sad to see a theatre go in the community.

Paula Coco writes:
Sunday, December 5 at 11:45PM

One more correction. "Nipples To The Wind" premiered in New Haven, Connecticut in the spring of 2006. From there it toured nationally. In 2008 it had a three month run at The Hub. I wish Tim all the best. He has a true passion for theatre and I can't wait to see what is in his future. All the best Tim!

Janye Anderson writes:
Monday, December 6 at 11:45AM

Ditto on the "Nipples To The Wind" comment. However, we had a great time during our three-month run at the Hub and I wish you, Tim Shane, the very best of the very best. Can't wait to see your next theatre venture. Hugs!

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Dallas Hub Theater: 2005-2010
Tim Shane lets the troubled space go, and plans to continue his entertainment ventures at another venue.
by Mark Lowry

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