Seattle Town Hall is a vibrant gathering place in the heart of Seattle with a busy event calendar offering civic, arts, and educational programs that reflect and inspire our region’s best impulses: creativity, empathy, and the belief that we all deserve a voice. Far more than just a venue, Town Hall is a gathering place where ideas are planted and movements grow. It’s where we come together as a community to listen and be heard—to ask and answer the big questions facing our city and our world.
Located in the heart of the city at Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street, Seattle Town Hall, 1119 8th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101 (Google map). There is a paid parking lot immediately adjacent to Town Hall; enter the parking lot from Seventh Avenue, or Spring or Seneca Street. Additionally, several commercial parking lots are located within 1.5 blocks of Town Hall’s front door. The theater is fully accessible. Assisted listening devices are available upon request.
The theater is managed by a nonprofit organization that relies on rentals, membership, volunteers, and fundraising to sustain the many activities.21
History of Seattle Town Hall
Seattle Town Hall is housed in an historic 1922 Roman-revival-style building on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street, one of the landmarks of First Hill.
Continuously used and well-maintained over the last 80 years, the building was purchased in 1998 from the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, by a group of 16 civic-minded Seattle citizens who then established Town Hall, a 501(c)(3) organization that would transform the space into a community culture center.
The mission of Town Hall was twofold: preserve the beloved historic building and create an affordable performance home for the region’s many small- to mid-sized arts and civic organizations. Town Hall’s name recalls town-meeting democracy, emphasized by the intimate, curved, amphitheater-style seating of the Great Hall.
Today, Town Hall has matured into a beloved and unique artistic and civic hub. Every year, over one hundred thousand people attend hundreds of events, produced by dozens of community producers, and featuring hundreds of artists and scholars.
Renovation of Town Hall 2017-2019
After 18 seasons of programming and over a century since its construction, Town Hall is getting the love it needs to stay part of Seattle for another century.
The century-old historic building is undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation. The project will add necessities like seismic stabilization, accessibility upgrades, gender-neutral restrooms, and climate control with air conditioning for summer events, plus a host of performance and patron upgrades—all while preserving Town Hall’s historic warmth and iconic character.
Long-time friends of Town Hall are familiar with the Great Hall’s signature warmth, seating almost 900 people in the historic oak pews, yet creating a unique intimacy found in few other places of its size. The space will retain its characteristic look and feel (and landmark status), but with improvements to theatrical lighting and supports, acoustic and digital upgrades, state of the art speaker system, comfortable cushions for the iconic oak pews.
The downstairs space will get a new modular stage and seating for shows ranging from 50-300 attendees, new library and bar to bookend the show space, more natural light through redesigned windows, more comfortable climate control options, and easier access. With non-fixed seating and stage, the Downstairs space will become the most flexible high-capacity performance space of its kind in Seattle.
Events at Seattle Town Hall
Half of the events on the Town Hall calendar feature performances and functions by community producers. Through subsidized rental rates and hands-on production and marketing support for these homegrown organizations, Town Hall levels the cultural playing field and amplifies the voices of diverse communities. The remaining programs are produced by Town Hall staff, series curators, collaborating partners, and other thinkers and doers who push creative frontiers.
The resulting event calendar is an inclusive, present-tense reflection of life in the Puget Sound region. With wide open doors and radically affordable ticket prices, everyone can take part, be inspired, and use their voice to shape our future. Local, national and international programs and performances are scheduled year-round for public and private events. Every month of the year, you can find a broad program, including arts, music, humanities, civic discourse, science, and world culture events.
Many of the public events are free or just $5. Check their website for a list of upcoming events.
Note: In fall of 2017, Town Hall began the Inside/Out season while the building is closed for renovation. Town Hall is bringing a full calendar of events to neighborhoods across Seattle. The grand re-opening of Town Hall is planned for March 2019.