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. 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 Civic 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 has 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, and 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.