A group of Arlington residents formed a theater group in 1973. The Potluck Players was the original name of this group. They met in Miss Persis Dance Studio’s Potluck Room. The first production of I Do, I Do, was presented at Arlington High School. This was the start of Theatre Arlington 305 W Main St, Arlington, TX 76010. They soon changed their name from Arlington Community Theatre to Arlington Community Theatre with their second production, Light Up the Sky. Cliff Redd was a young director who convinced them to continue the group’s work.
Many changes were made to the Theatre in its second decade. The Theatre now had a full-time staff. Cliff Redd became the Executive Director. Judy Rehders, and B. J. Cleveland also worked on the payroll. The Theatre also added a children’s and a studio series to its repertoire, increasing the production to an astonishing nine to fourteen shows per season. Theatre, Arlington’s board, and staff developed a long-term plan.
Theatre Arlington was subject to even more changes. The organization made significant progress in fundraising and opened the Allan Saxe Mainstage Theatre in November 1994. As a result, the staff at the Theatre also grew. Shirley Orr became the Box Office Manager. Patti Diou, the Marketing Manager, Julie Aylor (Administrative Assistant), and B. J. Cleveland were rehired as the Theatre’s Artistic Director. Theatre Arlington started offering theater classes year-round for both children and adults in 1996. Theatre Arlington also launched its outreach arm, ACTUPS (Applied Creative Thinking Using Perform Skills). This program places a resident artist in a school to teach creative solutions to problems using theater games and techniques. The organization experienced major changes at the end of the decade, but it was a positive one.
TAG Players, the Theatre’s Senior Readers Theater outreach group, was added to the fourth decade. This senior group travels throughout the Metroplex to perform for other senior organizations. Patti Diou was appointed the Theatre’s Executive Director in 2002. There were many more changes ahead. There was never a dull moment with the Theatre’s youth and education program, which now produces nine shows per year, outreach programs, as well as two touring companies. The Theatre received a third renovation in September 2004. It had a larger lobby and more comfortable seating. But it was not an easy task. Todd Hart was named Executive Producer of Theatre in 2009. Hart was inspired by the legacy left behind by the incredible people who had passed it on and realized that he needed to do the same: look at the community and see the importance of culture.
Visitors can also check out other attractions in Arlington such as the Arlington Music Hall, International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame, Theatre Arlington, River Legacy Parks, UTA Planetarium, and many more. Be sure to visit each one and don’t forget to have fun!
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