A sneak peek inside the Alabama Theatre’s Ladies’ Restroom Expansion

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The historic Alabama Theatre. Photo by Bham Now.

When you’ve been to events at Birmingham’s historic Alabama Theatre, you’ve likely had to wait in a long line at the women’s restroom, or waited on someone who’s waiting in line. This is about to change with the ladies’ restroom expansion project. (Applause!) I took a peek inside the Alabama Theatre’s new ladies’ restroom (I knocked first) to see what’s going on. Come with me…

The restoration of the Alabama Theatre has brought the magic back to downtown as one of Birmingham’s most impactful re-developments. However, there is always room for improvement.

Current restrooms

Alabama Theatre’s current ladies’ restrooms. Photo via Nathan Watson for BhamNow.

When the historic Alabama Theatre was built in 1927, the building only included 5 women’s restroom stalls on the bottom floor and 4 in the balcony. Back in those days, the primary customers were men. However, today’s customers are 2/3rds female.

With 150,000 attendees each year, the women’s restrooms need an upgrade. During intermissions, the handful of women’s restrooms result in absurdly long lines. Additionally, school field trips run into trouble when teachers take the class to the restroom all at once.

The Ladies’ Room Expansion Project

Original chandelier that Alabama Theatre will use to make the new restrooms look authentic. Photo via Nathan Watson for BhamNow.

In order to fix this, the Alabama Theatre is building an additional restroom. The new restroom will feature a waiting room and 20 additional stalls.

The project wants to make sure the new restrooms will look authentic. The restrooms will be decorated with original chandeliers and a similar tile pattern to the existing restrooms. Additionally, they want to provide the reliability of a modern restroom.

“We hope to have the new restrooms completed by late October. Our heaviest season is in December, and we will have 40,000 customers during this time.”

Brant Beene, General Manager at the Alabama Theatre

Why is it so expensive?

Retrofitting the old storage room into a new restroom! Photo by Nathan Watson for BhamNow.

Overall, the expansion project will end up costing $400,000. If the construction project was starting from scratch, it would be a lot simpler. However, the biggest challenge is retrofitting the 92 year old building. In order to add the restrooms, they need to remove concrete to support new plumbing, ventilation, and electrical wiring.

How you can help the Ladies’ Restroom Expansion Project

The new restroom will feature a waiting room much like this current one. Photo by Nathan Watson for BhamNow.

There are multiple ways you can support Birmingham Landmarks, a tax-deductible 501c3 organization.

  • Mail a check to: Ladies Restroom Expansion Project, 1817 Third Ave. North, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • Donate online at the Ladies Room Expansion Project

“This has been the hardest fundraising event we’ve ever done. People don’t mind giving to the Alabama sign or to something more exciting. However nobody wants to give to a restroom project, even though everyone wants one and everyone needs one!”

Brant Beene, General Manager at the Alabama Theatre

What will you do with all that free time from NOT standing in the line at the restroom? We can think of so many things to do! Let us know by tagging us @BhamNow!

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Nathan Watson
Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.
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