Beloved Theater Says Goodbye to Dallas After 42 Years

Pocket Sandwich Theatre has found a new home in historic downtown Carrollton

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A beloved theater is saying goodbye to Dallas after more than 40 years in the city.

Pocket Sandwich Theatre said negotiations fell through on its lease at Mockingbird Lane and will need to vacate by Monday.

“While the Pocket, like all other theaters, was struggling to survive the pandemic, the shopping center that had been our home for more than 31 years was sold. We met with the new owners and they informed us that we do not fit their vision for the future of the shopping center,” reads a statement posted to the theater’s website.

Employees have already packed up props and removed the old sign that's hung outside the theater since 1990.

Pocket Sandwich Theater
The old space in Dallas being cleared for the move.

“We are really sad to see the old place go. We’ve been here a really long time and there’s been a lot of very, very happy memories here,” manager and partner Shanon Dickinson told NBC 5.

But the theater isn't closing the curtains for good.

Dickinson said the city of Carrollton reached out and asked them to move into an open space in its historic downtown. Pocket Sandwich Theatre will soon occupy two spaces that are being renovated to become one. One of those spaces is the former 55° Wine Bar, which had closed and moved out of state.

“It’s scary but it’s also exciting. We’ve been in the same location for going on 32 years. The thought of moving is daunting. It’s such a huge move,” said Dickinson.

But she said her team knows it will be a good fit. The theater will literally be off “Broadway”, a street that runs through historic downtown Carrollton. The theater will be surrounded by shops, restaurants and a brewery.

“The city of Carrollton has just been so overwhelmingly good to us. They approached us about moving there so we’re excited,” Dickinson said. “It’s a totally different vibe and area but it’s an up-and-coming area – and I think will fit right in.”

Pocket Sandwich Theater
A rendering of what the theater's new home historic downtown Carrollton will look like.

Dickinson’s father, Joe Dickinson, founded Pocket Sandwich Theatre in 1980 with good friend Rodney Dobbs. It gets the name from its evolution from a sandwich shop to a theater.

“My dad was in theater my whole life. When we moved here in 1973, he immediately went into joining theaters and opening places,” said Dickinson.

Her father operated a location on Lower Greenville for 10 years before moving into a space at Mockingbird Lane in 1990. It gained a foothold in the theater community and became known for fun audience interactions with the actors, such as tossing popcorn at villains on stage.

Dickinson eventually helped take the reins from her late father.

Pocket Sandwich Theater
Pocket Sandwich Theater at its Lower Greenville location in the 1980s.

Over the years, there have been ups and downs but the biggest challenges showed up with the pandemic. Forced to shut down for months, the theater relied on support from the community to survive. Dickinson said the actors have especially felt the pain of COVID-19 and now, the sudden departure from Dallas.

“The actors are excited about the move because they thought that we were just going to close. So they’re happy that we’re moving but for the actors, this is probably even more painful for them because they’ve met their groups of lifelong friends here. It’s like a close family here,” said Dickinson.

But she said they are all thankful for a second life.

We’ve had ups and downs just like any theater, probably a little more so for us because we are one of the few for-profits, so we’re totally on our own,” said Dickinson. “But we’ve done well, we’ve had great clientele and patrons that love us and we’re getting excited about the move. It’s been sad but it’s also starting to get exciting.”

Pocket Sandwich Theatre plans to reopen at their new Carrollton location in May or June. A community effort is underway to help support the theater financially during this time.

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