Tacoma Little Theatre
In 1913 there was an auto repair shop at 210 North I Street in Tacoma’s North End Neighborhood. They eventually grew to become Tacoma Motors. In 1940, they sold the building to a group calling themselves the Tacoma Drama League. And Tacoma Little Theatre was born.
The Tacoma Drama League had been together since 1918 using the First Congregational Church as a performance area and using the name Tacoma Little Theatre long before they had a building of their own. After all as any theatre person or Shakespeare fan can tell you, ‘the play is the thing’.
During the 1940’s they used surplus parts from a Army railroad roundhouse to create a thirty-two foot turntable on the stage, making it possible to change play settings quickly and offering a unique play-going experience to the public.
In the early 1990’s Tacoma Little Theatre entered my life. I had a group of friends that put on a weekly improv show and in 1994, on Saturday nights, you could find some of the best live comedy you were likely to see anywhere. I almost joined them, but found that my calling wasn’t to be on stage, but behind it. Every Saturday night I would open doors, tear tickets, and do whatever else needed to be done.
On August 5, 1995 I appeared on the stage of Tacoma Little Theatre for a different kind of performance. I was dressed in a black suit with a thin black tie. I walked down the aisle to the tune of George Baker’s “Little Green Bag” and got married. This wasn’t an original idea. To my knowledge there have been five other weddings at the theatre. None of them have lasted more than two years. This probably has more to do with theatre people not being the most loyal and traditional sorts than any possible curse on the place.
Today, I live a few blocks away from Tacoma Little Theatre and see it every day. It’s still in operation and holds the distinction of being the oldest operating community theater group west of the Mississippi.