Since its opening in 1993, the Meydenbauer Center Theatre has served Bellevue as a rental space for artistic and business endeavors. But as the city continues to grow, leadership has decided to transition this space into a dedicated theater, expanding its economic and cultural impact by bringing new arts and entertainment options to the region.

Bellevue currently sits as Washington’s fifth-largest city and is seeing consistent growth. From 2010 to 2017, the population of Bellevue increased 73 percent. Cities such as Redmond, Issaquah, and Snoqualmie have likewise seen an increase in population. With an influx of new residents and the lack of a theater in the city, the Meydenbauer Center Theatre recognized that it could fill the entertainment gap and position itself to meet growing demand.

The Meydenbauer Center Theatre will begin hosting new shows in the fall. In its debut year, the theater’s goals are to bring acts focusing on live music, comedy, and family programs. Notable shows coming in the fall are performances from the national touring company of The Second City, the improv-comedy troupe and school famous for training stars such as Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Steve Carell; and performances from The Paperboys, a Vancouver based stomp-grass band.  

In a press release, Meydenbauer Center Director of Facility Services Jeff Vaughan gave insight to the theater’s transition. “We want to offer great additional arts and entertainment options that connect with residents, contribute to a vibrant downtown, and build community close to home,” Vaughan said. “We are very excited to take this step and hope to continue to grow the presence of arts and entertainment in downtown Bellevue.” 

The Meydenbauer Center is the second largest convention center in the Greater Seattle area with 54,000 square-feet of event space: 36,000 square-feet in the Center Hall, 12,000 square-feet of meeting rooms, a 2,500 square-foot Executive Conference Suite, and a 410-seat theater. Owned and operated by the Bellevue Convention Center Authority, this space was built to advance Bellevue’s economic vitality.