About Harris Theater

History of the Harris Theater

In 1990, a study by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation identified a need for a state-of-the-art downtown performance venue in Chicago for use by some of the city’s world-renowned and emerging, but itinerant performing arts companies. Vital to these not-for-profit groups was the creation of a facility that would be affordable to rent, offer superior technical facilities, and have the flexibility to serve a range of performance needs. Many of Chicago’s major philanthropic organizations and resident performing arts companies formed a partnership to bring the project to life.

After reviewing more than 20 prospective sites, the City of Chicago invited the organization to locate the theater on East Randolph Drive, anchoring the northeast corner of the new Millennium Park. With the ground breaking in February 2002, the newly named Harris Theater for Music and Dance became the first multi-use performing arts venue to be built in the Chicago downtown area since 1929. The Board of Trustees and the organizations that had assisted throughout the project celebrated the Theater’s inaugural performance on November 8, 2003.

Today, the Theater is proud to be the home of a myriad of Chicago’s most exciting music and dance companies.