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Theatre Lawrence partners with volunteers to create and deliver extraordinary theatre and education programs that engage community members of all ages and backgrounds as audience members and participants.
The Theatre began performances in the mid 1970's at the Lawrence Arts Center when that facility was undergoing conversion from a library. Lawrence Community Theatre was organized in 1977 and incorporated as a not for profit in 1978 by ahandful of individuals with a "kitty" of $500. Scheduling at the Arts Center led to a gypsy-like existence for LCT with rehearsals scattered around the city, storage in basements, garages and barns and set construction outdoors (subject to birds) or indoors (sometimes subject to leaky roofs and flooding). In its search for additional performance space LCT did shows in South Park, Trinity Episcopal Church and at Teepee Junction.
In 1984 LCT (Lawrence Community Theatre) moved to a former church at 1501 New Hampshire. This facility was purchased and renovated with the help of many community volunteers. In addition to doing major fund raising for professional renovation work, LCT received large amounts of donated services and volunteer labor. Architect, Larry Good and retired KU Technical Director and Lighting Designer Charles Lown collaborated on the planning and oversight of the project. The Theatre opened in January of 1985 with an original script by local playwright John Clifford, entitled I WAS RIGHT HERE A MOMENT AGO.
A fire in December of 2003 did over $150,000 damage to the theatre and its contents. A faulty lighting fixture in the costume storage area was the cause and almost two thirds of the theatre's costumes were destroyed, while the rest of the building suffered extensive smoke damage.
In September of 2010, Lawrence Community Theatre changed its logo and name to THEATRE LAWRENCE to more accurately reflect its scope of its programming and outreach. In May of 2012, groundbreaking began on the construction of a brand new facility; the aspiration of many years of a Capital Campiagn that continues to this day. In May of 2013, the Theatre moved into its new home and opened with its first show, Ragtime on the "Mary Doveton Stage."