100 years ago something very special happened

Tacoma Little Theatre was founded in October of 1918 as the Tacoma Center of the Drama League of America, and known as the Tacoma Drama League until 1937 when the organization was incorporated under the name Tacoma Little Theatre and Drama League or, as it is called today, Tacoma Little Theatre.

TLT became a member of the Drama League of America at a time when there were only 60 such organizations nationwide. The Little Theatre movement believed that drama was important as a means of self-expression and its aim was to foster interest in the dramatic arts among all classes of people. It was felt that an individual should find in community drama a delightful form of recreation, and develop a greater capacity for cooperative undertaking through opportunities to participate in plays, pageants, and festivals, and that through the exercise of the dramatic instinct, people would be provided with a moral safety valve which should assist them in maintaining proper poise during tense and troublesome times.

From 1918 until 1940, the Drama League presented its works in a variety of locations, including Annie Wright Seminary, First Congregational Church, Stadium High School, and the Slavonian Hall in Old Town. In 1939, the company purchased and remodeled an automobile repair shop for $10,000 on the 200 block of North I Street in the historic Stadium District of Tacoma. That property, originally built in 1913, remains the theatre’s home to this day.

Tacoma Little Theatre continues to create. Photo: Morf Morford
Tacoma Little Theatre continues to create. Photo: Morf Morford

In 1955, TLT purchased the lot adjacent to the old garage building on N. I Street and began building a new lobby, office, and modern restroom accommodations. With a larger, more comfortable and up-to-date facility, TLT, was well on its way to establishing a reputation for outstanding community theatre.

In 2017, TLT once again grew and purchased the building next door, calling it “Stage Right”. This new space has added much needed room for set construction, costumes, props, and additional rehearsal space.

During the last 100 years TLT has stirred the emotions and been the creative home for countless patrons and volunteers. Thank you for being a part of the first 100 years of Tacoma Little Theatre.

    – Tacoma Little Theatre

Related Stories