In December 1967 a “Goals For Garland” committee recognized the need for a small theater program. Vivian Yarborough, who served as chairman of Garland Parks and Recreation Department board, then called a meeting of those interested in forming a theater group. Pat Adams was also instrumental in getting the theatre started, attending that first meeting. Fundraising efforts began and the theatre was incorporated in April 1968. Acting workshops were held and by August, “The Drunkard” was performed on two weekends to great acclaim.
By that November, the first season production took place in a church fellowship hall: “Barefoot in the Park” directed by Ed DeLatte.
GCT’s first season of four productions was nominated for 14 Wally awards in seven categories presented by the eight Community Theaters of Greater Dallas. It won in five categories, including best show of the year for “Barefoot in the Park.”
At the end of 1969, the group purchased an old VFW building and six months later ran an eight-week summer workshop for people interested in stage craft. According to a GCT historical summary, the charge for the entire workshop was $5 or 75 cents per session.
In 1978, a federal grant was awarded to the theatre by the Comprehensive Employment Training Act and a general manager and secretary were hired.
The 15th season was the first to take place in the new Garland Performing Arts Center and opened with a production of “Godspell.”
In 1999, the GCT board of directors purchased the historic building on the east side of the square in downtown Garland and occupied it for several years. The group then sold that location and moved to a facility at 2703 National Place in Garland where they are currently located.
KyleMcClaran became the GCT Artistic Director in February 2003 and continues in that capacity.
McClaran said that one of the main reasons for the theatre’s longevity is the determination of the people who have run it so far.
“We try our best to provide the community with what they want to see,” he said. “I don’t try to do anything extremely wild. “It’s having the right people that are willing to do the work and raise money and commit to it.”
He added that many people believe that GCT is funded and run by the city of Garland, which is incorrect. The theatre runs on grants, donations and ticket sales.
McClaran tries to make every performance special with music, costumes, sets and a story that is relatable to the majority of people. He directs the performance, not the show and says that is one of the reasons that GCT productions attract so many talented actors.
The theatre would also like to acknowledge and thank Celeste Rogers for her years of dedication to GCT. She has worked tirelessly toward the success of the theatre but can no longer be involved because of illness.
“She has spent hours upon hours upon hours, not because anyone said she had to, but because she loved it,”McClaran said. “She never faltered in her dedication to Garland Civic Theatre.”
"GCT celebrates 50 years of excellence"
By Kim Everett
August 10, 2017
Garland Civic Theatre is proud to celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2017-18 season. Since 1967, GCT has provided quality shows, including musicals, mysteries, comedies and dramas, by joining gifted directors with talented actors and crew, along with great music and beautiful sets.
To celebrate the anniversary, the theatre has lowered ticket prices for this season only. Attend the 2017-18 offerings listed below for $17 and $18.
“A Murder is Announced”
“And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little”
“Dracula the Musical”
“In-Laws, Outlaws and Other People That Should Be Shot”
“The Savannah Sipping Society”
Garland Civic Theatre provides high quality theatrical programs to educate, to entertain, and to enrich the lives of the citizens of Garland and surrounding communities. The organization was founded in 1968 and is the oldest community theatre group in Dallas County.
Our offices and rehearsal spaces are located at 2703 National Place (near I-635 and Garland Road), and our performances are held in Downtown Garland at the Granville Arts Center in the small theatre.
Copyright 2017 // Garland Civic Theatre