Five Minutes With Barbara Horan, Owner, the historic Texan Theater

With a history as long as the Trinity River, the Texan Theater has been brought back to life.

This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on December 5, 2019.

In 1935, the Texan Theater became one of several movie theaters in the tiny North Texas town of Greenville. With its Texas-sized vertical marquee and neon lights outside, Barbara Horan grew up watching films there, making lasting memories along the way.

The Greenville native moved to Austin where she attended school and began a career, however, the Texan Theater, which closed in 1975, was never far from her thoughts.

Texan Theater
The historic theater opened its doors in 1890 under the name, King Opera House, where Helen Keller, The Marx Brothers and Houdini were just some of the legends who passed through the tiny town of Greenville, Texas. Photo courtesy Texan Theater

In 2010, Horan decided she wanted to bring something special to her hometown and bought and renovated the old theater. She hoped to breathe new life into it,  so it could, once again, bring joy and inspiration to audiences everywhere.

“There were these incredible neon lights and I wanted to see those light up again,” says Horan.

The 114-seat theater is decorated in nouveau swank mixed with vintage chic. Since reopening, it has hosted musicians like John Schneider, John Anderson, Rick Springfield, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers and Quiet Riot.

The new Texan Theater is bringing a touch of Broadway to and, thanks to Horan, has once again become a showpiece for a town sitting mere miles from the city lights of Dallas.

What do you remember about going to the movies growing up?

At one time there were six movie theaters in downtown Greenville, but this is the only one I remember. The others had closed by the time I was old enough to be going to the movies. This one was a single screen and closed around 1975 because of the Rolling Hills TWIN cinema.

What do you love about it today?

I have created a place for those who do not like crowds can enjoy a stress-free event.

Barbara and Bret Michaels
Bret Michaels (pictured with Barbara Horan) is one of countless musicians who play at the newly renovated Texan Theater in Greenville, Texas. Courtesy photo

What was the hardest part about renovating the theater?

Since this kind of place does not exist, the hardest part was trying to get the idea out of my head and into reality.

Did you have to make major changes from the original?

It was built as a movie house with a stage. I usually do things on the stage now and occasionally have movies.

Is there a specific show or musician you’d like to host?

Each show I say, “This was the best one.” There are several in the works. Watch the newsletter, Facebook page and our website for announcements.


Cover: Billy Bob Thorton and Barbara Horan. Photo courtesy Barbara Horan

Lisa Davis lives in Austin and is the Editorial Assistant for Texas Lifestyle Magazine and an honors graduate of Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations.

 

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