Surrounded by a lush forest, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is an outdoor amphitheater that provides the Greater Houston region with an array of performing arts and contemporary entertainment in a setting of unparalleled beauty. The Pavilion is owned and operated by The Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization, and is governed by a volunteer board of directors.
George P. Mitchell, former chairman of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. and founder of The Woodlands, along with his wife Cynthia Woods Mitchell, for whom The Pavilion is named, dreamed of creating a first-class performing arts facility for The Woodlands since the community’s inception in 1974. They envisioned such a facility as a venue for performing arts events as well as popular music.
The dream became a reality when The Pavilion opened with a star-studded gala weekend in April 1990. Since then, it has earned praise from both artists and audiences. The Pavilion presents approximately 75 events every March through November; events ranging in style from rock to classical, jazz to country, and modern opera to contemporary American ballet.
In 1992, thanks to a generous gift from Cynthia and George Mitchell to the Houston Symphony’s endowment fund, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion became the official Summer Home of the Houston Symphony. As a result, The Pavilion presents a series of performances featuring the symphony every season.
Past performers at The Pavilion have included Houston’s own internationally acclaimed performing arts organizations - the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera - as well as popular touring artists such as Frank Sinatra, Bette Midler, Van Halen, Tina Turner, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Britney Spears, Clint Black and Cher, among others.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Ike in September 2008, The Pavilion suffered severe damage to its infrastructure, including the Teflon coated Fiberglass fabric roof and support structure over the reserved seating area. After assessing the damage, Pavilion management and Board of Directors made the decision to undergo an intensive $9 million renovation project. The renovation included construction of 2,000 new reserved seats and building a new expanded canopy structure covering all 6,500 seats.
Before the renovation, The Pavilion had approximately 2,800 covered seats, including 224 box seats, and 1,900 uncovered seats. With the renovation, The Pavilion’s covered seating capacity increased to nearly 6,500, including several additional boxes. Overall capacity of the venue remains about the same at 16,500, including a lawn capacity of about 10,000. Most of The Pavilion’s national commercial attractions are produced and promoted by Live Nation. Performing arts events are produced and promoted by The Pavilion’s own management organization.
In recent years, The Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands has emerged as a catalyst in exposing large numbers of people to the performing and visual arts. With numerous educational outreach programs that reach approximately 40,000 students and members of their family from 17 area school districts, and several community outreach programs that enlighten and enrich the lives of thousands of people every year, The Center plays an essential role in making the arts accessible to the masses.
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, a regional performing arts venue, is located at 2005 Lake Robbins Drive in The Woodlands, Texas. The Woodlands is a master-planned community of approximately 70,000 residents located 27 miles north of downtown Houston.