FROM DREAM TO COMMUNITY CULTURAL HUB
Ladysmith Little Theatre started as the dream and vision of residents Judi and Terry Whittaker. They wanted to provide quality, accessible community theatre for Ladysmith and the surrounding communities.
The Whittakers saw an opportunity in the vacant Diamond Crossing School building. It was built in 1912 as a one-room school and another room was added sometime during the 1950s. Owned by School District 68, the building had been empty since approximately 1985.
In October 2003, Judy and Terry arranged to view the building and in December 2003, they began negotiations a five- year, renewable lease.
In January 2004, work began to transform the building into an actual theatre. Volunteers, including Terry, Bruce Mason and many others, finished this huge undertaking in 6 weeks!
The main room became the auditorium (the “house” in theatrical terms). A raised stage, a control booth and a small dressing room was built. We redecorated and carpeted the cloakroom which became theatre lobby. The staff room became a kitchen and 220-volt wiring was installed along with a basic sound system. We purchased chairs, constructed tables and the theatre was finally ready for an audience.
Grand opening a great success
On March 24, 2004, the theatre doors opened. An invited audience enjoyed an Open House potluck supper and a Variety Show. It was a great success. That summer, Judi and Terry performed The Bull and Bush Pub Show. The set became the inspiration for the auditorium decor. The decor stayed in place until the summer of 2013. Members Maureen Molyneaux and Wayne Williams led a crew of volunteers to upgrade the house to the beautiful decor you see today.
Ladysmith Little Theatre buys building
In September 2012, Ladysmith Little Theatre Society was able to purchase the land and building from School District 68. We’d had a long-standing, exemplary relationship with the District. In recognition, we were granted a five-year, no-interest loan to cover the mortgage payments. We’re continuing to inch toward outright ownership. We appreciate the dedicated support of our membership, donors, patrons, and advertisers. We’re also thankful for grants and fundraising events.
Members continue to put their time and expertise into upgrades
In the summer of 2017, board member, Lyndon Bzdel, led a group of theatre volunteers and community members to paint the exterior of the building. The work included new signage and outside lighting. Artist, Korinna Leach painted an exquisite mural to enhance the front of the building.
Michael Lamoureux, our volunteer workshop manager, designed and built a new wheelchair ramp at the front door. He plans to replace the rotted ramp at the south door entrance next year. (This is in addition to building outstanding sets each season.)
Today, everyone involved in our productions is a member volunteer. This includes our actors, crew, set designers, technicians, construction crew, box office, front of house, Board of Directors and committee members. Our member volunteers keep Ladysmith Little Theatre alive and growing – just as Judi and Terry Whittaker envisioned.