About Us

Only a Few Remain

Many small towns have boasted their very own

Rialto Theater. Webster's defines the word rialto

to mean theater district. In the Texas Coastal Bend,

Aransas Pass has a performance and visual arts

forum right in the heart of downtown - one of the

few remaining Rialtos to survive and even prosper.


The Rialto Theater in Aransas Pass began its life as a

state-of-the-art movie theater in 1937, part of a

theater chain built by the Hall brothers starting in

Beeville. The Rialto seated 460 in "air-conditioned

comfort" with plush seating and an inclined floor to

allow unobstructed viewing of the screen. The fact

that you could get out of the heat and watch a

movie made for a perfect place to meet and maybe

find a bit of romance. Folks around town who grew

up in the area tell stories of meeting their first

sweetheart right there at the Rialto. Movies were

shown until 1991 when the theater fell silent after a

54-year career.


In 2004, new owners began a revival of the original

building which marked the birth of a new vision. A

year-round event schedule is in place, full of

traditional and eclectic performances in a 100-seat

theater auditorium which is fronted by a 40-seat

beer/wine bar, and gallery and lobby for art exhibits.

The seats in the theater are not the original

seats, but they have their own history. Some of

them were purchased at an auction from the Rialto

in Sinton, Texas; and the others are kin to Willie

Nelson. A lead from a truck driver friend led to

Carl's Corner Truck Stop, south of Dallas, where

Willie sold his bio-diesel. A theater there was being

refurbished, and these time-tested seats were for

sale.


The cherished original theater marquee was

destroyed when Hurricane Celia devastated the

Coastal Bend in 1970. The grand lady survived then

and stood tall after Harvey made landfall in 2017.

She has so much more to give to our community.


The Rialto Theater is an IRS 501(c)(3} charitable

organization powered by volunteers, fostering education

in the arts: visual arts, music and live theater

throughout the year in the Coastal Bend. 

Rialto Reconstruction

The link below contains photos from the remodeling of the Rialto Theater, plus some from older shows as well.

See More!