Over seven decades ago, in the war-torn years of 1942-1943 and in an area better known for mud and mosquitoes, the early stirrings of desire to develop a more cultural atmosphere resulted in the beginning of the Little Theatre of Brazosport.
It was a self-help, boot-strap operation which progressed from an idea of eight people working in defense plants, schools and as housewives, to the production of a full three-act play on a school stage on October 29, 1943. The founding eight enlisted six more, and these fourteen put up $10.00 each to finance the first production.
In an area hungry for entertainment, the group fast became a core of social and cultural life in the community and in the years 1947-1949 found itself with 500 sustaining members. In 1948, the Theatre was granted a state charter as a non-profit community organization dedicated to offering entertainment and education in the theater arts to all citizens of the community.
But, it was to take ten years for the Theatre to find its first “home”. Until that time, sets were built and painted in yards. They were hauled to the school auditorium, set up for a two-night run and then dismantled, stored in a donated shed or destroyed.
This nomadic existence came to a happy end in 1952 when the group used its entire savings to buy a sturdy, landmark house on the levee of the old Brazos River in Velasco. The Little theatre was home at last.
The varied skills of volunteer carpenters, electricians, painters, plumbers and seamstresses were utilized to transform the house into a working and social center. Interior walls were dismantled, ceilings shored up with steel beams. The kitchen was modernized, a new restroom created. The entrance was turned around so the porch would be used as a workshop-storage room. Four small rooms in the center of the house became one 30X30 foot area. But there was still the problem of moving sets and playing only two weekend performances in the only available place, a local school.
Then, in late 1957, it was suggested to the group that they use the high-ceilinged great room as an arena theater and produce and perform in their own building. Over the next year and a half, the great room was converted by volunteers into a 75-seat arena theater which opened its first production on March 10, 1959. Seating was on folding chairs. The lights were created from two-pound coffee cans. But a new and exciting theater was born in Brazosport.