The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is one of the top-ranked outdoor amphitheaters in the world. The Pavilion’s homegrown history started with a dream for over 15 years before becoming a reality.
Founder of The Woodlands, George P. Mitchell, and his wife, Cynthia Woods Mitchell, envisioned a performing arts facility for The Woodlands since the beginning of the community in 1974. In fact, Cynthia Woods Mitchell, had the idea to create a venue to make the arts accessible to the entire community, inspired by a free ballet performance she had attended in Austin.
The Pavilion was strategized by Roger Galatas, former president of The Woodlands Corporation, and Dick Brown, original consultant for The Woodlands, with the approval of the Mitchells.
Once approved, The Mitchells and The Woodlands Corporation partnered with Pace Concerts, now Live Nation, to bring-in large popular touring acts to help pay for free performing arts concerts. A 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization was established, The Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands, to serve as the owners and operators of The Pavilion.
The cost to originally build the Pavilion was $10 million, all paid for as a gift from The Woodlands Corporation, according to Galatas’ article, “The Woodlands History: The Woodlands, The Inside Story of Creating a Better Hometown, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion”. Personally, the Mitchells donated $5 million to the Houston Symphony to make their summer home at The Pavilion plus made donations to the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera, to also perform in The Woodlands, according to Galatas’ article.
In April of 1990, the Mitchell’s dream became a reality, and The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion burst onto the entertainment venue scene with three star-studded shows for three consecutive nights. The performers were The Houston Symphony, Frank Sinatra and Alabama featuring Clint Black. These opening nights set the robust tone for the prestigious musical acts that have since graced the stage of our town’s signature white-tented architectural gem.
When it first opened, The Pavilion boasted 3,000 reserved seats and room for 7,000 lawn guests. Today, in addition to watching the concerts on the lawn, The Pavilion offers 6,500 covered seats bringing the guest capacity to 16,500. The Pavilion also highlights a 21,000-square-foot event center and a first-class club. These improvements, in tandem with a slate of the world’s top performers throughout the years, have propelled The Pavilion into international top tier amphitheater status.
The Howard Hughes Corporation, formerly The Woodlands Corporation, has prided itself on being a major sponsor of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion since its creation.
“We are proud to be a part of the legacy of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and to have been a major sponsor at The Pavilion for more than three decades,” says Jim Carman, President – Houston Region for Howard Hughes. “From top artists to the educational programs in our community, The Pavilion and its programming has made a great impact in our community and in making it the best place to live in America.”
This season upcoming concerts include Chris Stapleton, Maroon 5, Pitbull with Iggy Azalea and Buzzfest, to name a few!
“We are so grateful to all our partners at The Pavilion,” explains Lisa Baeckel, Director of Development for The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. “Their support enables our community education outreach programming and the continuation of our free public concerts.”
Today, Cynthia Woods Mitchell’s namesake pavilion still proudly presents a mix of free and ticketed arts programming for The Woodlands community and beyond.
Next time you visit The Pavilion, be sure to look for the bronze public artworks by Jay Hester of Cynthia Woods Mitchell reading to three children and George Mitchell talking to two of his grandchildren by the main gates.
Howard Hughes salutes The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for its continued success, its thoughtful history and our dear partnership together.