In 1954, the Best Theatre, a neighborhood movie house on the corner of 25th and Washington Avenue, went on the market. Receiving gifts and pledges from supporters throughout the community, the Best Theatre became the permanent home of the Community Theatre of Terre Haute.
In the ensuing 42 years, the building has been maintained and Community Theatre has operated on a balanced budget without seeking additional support from the community. This self reliance has proven CT to be excellent stewards of the support of its initial benefactors.
Today, we are Set for Change. The needs of Community Theatre, its audience, and the Wabash Valley have surpassed the adequacy of the building as it now exists.
For the first time in 42 years, Community Theatre is asking the Terre Haute community to support its programs by providing funding for renovation and expansion of the Theatre building. This plan will bring the entire building up to code and include the addition of adequate restroom facilities, a safer drive up area for patrons, much needed rehearsal and storage space, and will enable CT to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act
This rehabilitation and enlargement, with an estimated cost of $1,033,000, will provide an outstanding multifaceted facility comparable to the quality of Community Theatre and its cultural importance to the Wabash Valley.
Over the last five years Community Theatre has been creating a plan for the future. Through public and private meetings the needs of the theatre were identified and preliminary plans drawn up.
Secure funding Dec. 1997 Engage Design Spring 1997 Professional to prepare construction documents Secure State & Local Fall 1997 Permits Secure Competitive Bids Feb. 1998 Award Contracts March 1998 Commence Construction May 1998 Complete Construction Sept 1998
Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 1996, the Community Theatre of Terre Haute has a rich history. It is a story of dreams, visions, and most of ail, dedication of hundreds of volunteers who refused to give up in the face of adversity.
It all began in 1926 when Madge Townsley contacted friends in the Pen and Brush Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Women's Department Club with the idea of a local community theatre. They formed the nucleus of a group to be called the Community Theatre of Terre Haute.
The early years were punctuated by financial woes, housing problems and organizational stress. For the next 28 years CT led a nomadic existence until the purchase of the Best Theatre. On December 1, 1954, following ten months of frenetic planning, fund raising, and remodeling, the Community Theatre realized its dream, a home of their own.
During these intervening 42 years improvements have been added as time and money afforded. The gallery was created, additional land on the south was acquired, and the a parking lot and much needed warehouse added. Most recently, the adjacent shoe shop and land were purchased.
We are very proud of our progress. The Community Theatre is the second oldest non-professional theatre, in continuous operation, in Indiana, and the only one offering a film series as well as live theatre. No one is paid except the professional film projectionist and the custodian. We are financed by the sale of tickets, voluntary donations, and occasional grants. Considerable assistance and cooperation are extended to other cultural projects and organizations in the community.
Providing five stage productions, five international films, and a summer director's workshop each year, CT gives the people of Terre Haute the opportunity to see and become a part of live theatre. Behind the scenes and on stage, a simple love of the theatre has generated our mission statement
Lobby $500,000 Auditorium $250,000 Rehearsal Hall $100,000 Stage $100,000 Vestibule $75,000 Multi-Purpose Room $50,000 Box Office $50,000 Restrooms (2) $25,000 Concession Area $25,000 Stars in the Sidewalk $10,000 Seats (350 approx) $5,000 Bricks in Sidewalk $3,000 Wall Plaque $1,500