Our Rich History

Our Story

In 1953, people in Terrace with an interest in theatre banded together to present the play, Father of the Bride. The play was enthusiastically received and Terrace Little Theatre was born.

Over the next 20 years, TLT became a mainstay of the Terrace cultural community, with a commitment to quality and a determination to bring interesting and entertaining material to their audiences. They scrounged rehearsal space wherever they could and presented three to five productions a year at the Community Center or the Skeena School gym. The demands of this schedule soon made it apparent that TLT needed a permanent home. In 1975, TLT used a provincial government grant to secure the Bethel Baptist Church for $42,000. They ripped out the baptismal font, ran wires, brought in equipment, and bought and refurbished old movie theatre seats. The luxury of having a dedicated rehearsal and performance space enabled Terrace Little Theatre to present more extravagant and ambitious productions.

Money was scarce, though, and in the early 80’s Merry Hallsor (née McColl) mounted a fundraising campaign to help TLT complete the purchase and begin major renovations. In 1988 a unanimous decision by the membership named the building the “McColl Playhouse” to honour the McColl family, founding members of TLT.

But a theatre group is more than a building. The members of TLT decided they would not just entertain audiences in their theatre but also challenge and educate cast, crew, and audience alike. As a member of Theatre BC, a parent association for community theatre in the province, Terrace Little Theatre has undertaken to draw out and develop the talents of its members. It has represented the Skeena Zone at provincial festivals and has received numerous onstage and backstage awards. It has participated in regional zone festivals, sometimes as host, and regularly offers theatre education including classes in acting, improvisation, backstage arts and directing.

Over the years TLT has nurtured many aspiring playwrights and presented their plays to supportive audiences. To date, it has premiered the work of six local playwrights.

Not content to present only “traditional” theatre, members of TLT began the “Oxymorons” in 1996, an improv troupe that performed throughout the region. In addition, TLT has run theatre classes for children during the summer,
presenting audiences with excited and exciting new performers at the end of every session.

As part of the arts community, Terrace Little Theatre has been involved with high school drama festivals, Riverboat Days, and local fringe festivals. It has taken plays to Kemano, New Hazelton, Kitimat, and Ketchican, bringing entertainment to small communities who do not have their own theatre group.

Terrace Little Theatre has come a long way. Long-time members reminisce about the old days: the many configurations of the performance area; building risers and sets; emptying backstage chamber pots; plowing through snow drifts to make entrances; watching the water from an overflowing toilet slowly make its way on to the stage; and emptying their own homes of furniture to create a usable set for a production.

Our theatre has had golden years and doldrum years, fantastic successes, and epic failures. As a club, we have been jubilant about our triumphs. We have worked to learn from them and to identify the many aspects that created magic for our audiences. We have also acknowledged our flops and fiascoes and have striven not to repeat them. We are proud and gratified to be the longest continuously running theatre company in the province of British Columbia.

The TLT membership is privileged to have worked with so many astounding people in our community. Each member brings enthusiasm and their own special expertise and experience. Through the act of taking words on paper and making them live on stage, each of us shares, grows, expands our abilities, and learns to appreciate the foibles, the intricacies, and the wonders of theatre. Theatre makes it possible to dive deeply into a creative process in the company of other gifted and innovative people. It teaches us to live in the moment, to commit fully and always to tell the truth.

We are so lucky to be in love with theatre, a beguiling discipline that offers lifelong opportunities. Theatre has no bounds.