Forest Forward is a non-profit organization that partners with the community to drive equitable development, economic mobility, and improve outcomes for children, residents, and families of the South Dallas community. The transformational infusion of $75.215 million into the heart of zip code 75215 will ignite healthy neighborhood revitalization and create a new vibrant core for the City of Dallas.

According to the Robert Wood Howard Foundation, your zip code predicts your life expectancy more than your genetic code. 75215 life expectancy is 67 years.

THE HISTORY of the Forest Theater

If these walls could talk…

Uniting Dallas-ites across generations and geographies, the historic Forest Theater has a rich diverse history. Located in the heart of sunny South Dallas, The Forest Theater was built in 1949 by Karl Hoblitzelle, the successful developer of the Majestic, Lakewood and Inwood Theaters. The Forest Theater shared the state of the art features as a one screen movie house seating nearly 1400 guests.

In the early 1950s, construction of the S. M. Wright (State Highway -175) began, causing the demolition of more than 1300 homes, bifurcating neighborhoods, and sparking white flight. The previously predominantly Jewish community was reshaped by redlining and segregated housing policies into a predominantly African American community. This drastic shift in population demographics caused the focus of the Forest Theater to change its offerings to black audiences to survive.

The Forest Theater became a mecca for art, music, and community gatherings. Legendary artists such as Tina Turner, Prince, Gladys Knight, and B.B. King performed for packed crowds at the Forest Theater. Local organizations utilized the space as a community hub for gatherings such as Girl Scout meetings, choir rehearsals, and voting rights campaigns.

Over the course of time, the Theater has gone through a number of closures and uses. It has served as a night club, a place of worship, an event venue, and more. Repeated unsuccessful efforts were made to rejuvenate the Forest Theater into an operating and sustaining venue.

In 2017, the Forest Theater was acquired and gifted by a philanthropic couple committed to equity in the arts and education. A local nonprofit, Forest Forward obtained ownership and has undertaken the responsibility for the historic restoration and expansive renovation.

This is how we do it…



1. The Foest Theater-min

The Forest Theater

The historic Forest Theater has always served as the heart and soul of South Dallas, and now the Future Is Here!

2. The Forest Theater at Night-min

The Forest Theater (Night)

Welcome to the Forest Theater! Once known for its marquee and beckoning lights, the Forest will be restored yielding 45,000 square feet dedicated to the Concert Hall, Creative Laboratory, Roof Deck, Industrial Kitchen, and the newly constructed Black Box.

3. Theater and Creative Laboratory-min

Theater and Creative Laboratory

The restoration and expansion of the historic Forest Theater will bridge the gap between the community, culture, education, and the arts.

Forest Theater Lobby-min

Forest Theater Lobby

During the day, the Theater lobby will serve as a café, coffee shop, and coworking space. At night, the room transforms to a standard theater lobby to mingle enjoy refreshments before the show.

5. Rooftop Deck-min

Rooftop Deck

Rooftop of the historic Forest Theater with great views of Downtown and sunny South Dallas.

6. Walk-Up Restaurant-min

Walk-up Restaurant

The state-of-the-art industrial kitchen where you can enjoy a meal on the patio.

7. Creative Laboratory Lobby-min

Creative Laboratory Lobby

The Creative Laboratory allow individuals the opportunity to create, innovate, and experience through the movement room, recording studios, flex space, resource center, sensory immersion room, artist classrooms, laboratories, and more.

8. Recording Studio-min

Recording Studio

Music creators and producers will have access to create music and beats in the state-of-the-art recording studios.

9. Podcast Studio-min

Podcast Studio

Podcast hosts can utilize the Podcast Studio to host a podcast or talk show with live audiences that can see and hear outside.

10. Black Box-min

Black Box

The newly constructed Black Box will serve as performance space for live and digital performances with the ability to convert into a green box and white box to support innovative technology.

11. Theater Lawn-min

Theather Lawn

The Theater’s lawn serves as an outdoor venue space where you can enjoy music, food, and good vibes, while experiencing the true essence of community.

The Forest is a strategic initiative designed to bring healthy neighborhood revitalization to sunny South Dallas. Building on the vision of community stakeholders, and the transformation of the historic Forest Theater, The Forest works towards a just, healthy, and thriving South Dallas.

The Forest Theater harnesses the power of art and culture to align strategic partnerships to create equitable opportunities, generate revenue, promote entrepreneurship, and establish sustainable best practices.

Forest Forward takes a holistic approach, anchored in the restoration and expansion of the Forest Theater offerings, to sustain the interest, growth, and success of the neighborhood revitalization.


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Community Tour

10:00 am | 12:00 pm | 3:00 pm

Dec 03

Community Tour

10:00 am | 12:00 pm | 3:00 pm

Nov 19

Community Tour

10:00 am | 12:00 pm | 3:00 pm

Nov 12