Stage set for Crighton Theatre improvements Renovations to the Crighton Theatre will expand lobby space and add civic amenities.[/caption]

The  Crighton Theatre will soon receive several upgrades after the city of Conroe approved a $325,000 grant to fund facility enhancements in March.

The theater was built in 1934 and regularly hosts theatrical and musical productions put on by local performance groups. Once complete the planned improvements would increase the size of the lobby and add downstairs bathrooms on the first floor.

“It is a very small lobby for a theater of this size,” Crighton Theatre Executive Director James Bingham said. “One of the things we are looking into now is when we can get started [with construction].”

Conroe City Council approved the $325,000 grant to the Crighton Theatre Foundation during its March 26 meeting. Bingham said the theater also has plans for a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $300,000 for planned renovations.

City Administrator Paul Virgadamo said the theater is among a handful of civic amenities that draw visitors to downtown Conroe on a regular basis.

“It is a historic theater so we want to make sure that it is around in the community for a while,” Virgadamo said. “It is another asset downtown that is a part of the plan to keep people downtown for the day and night if possible.”

Fred Welch, executive director of the Greater Conroe Economic Development Council, said the theater gives visitors a variety of activities to choose from when visiting the city.

“[The theater] is an important attraction tool, probably as important as the lake,” Welch said. “Some people go to the lake, and some people are going to look at antiques and so forth. It brings diversity in the community.”