In 1922, American novelist and essayist, Mary Austin, incorporated the Playhouse as the Santa Fe Little Theatre. It was her vision, through Live Theatre, to celebrate and preserve the rich texture of the many diverse peoples that made up the Santa Fe Community. The Santa Fe Playhouse has undergone many transformations through the decades but that same vision remains strong, and the theatre found a permanent home in 1964 in an adobe building in the heart of the historic Barrio de Analco. With uninterrupted seasons since its founding, The Santa Fe Playhouse has earned the distinction of being “the oldest continuously running theatre west of the Mississippi.”
With its “open door policy,” The Playhouse provides opportunities for future directors, actors, designers and technicians to be involved and gain hands-on experience at the theatre working side-by-side with professionals in their field. Participation in Live Theatre is vital to its continuation and therefore, anyone who wants to play a part, whether onstage or backstage, is welcomed.
Through its short play contest, Benchwarmers, and its newly developed full-length Playwrights Forum, the theatre offers new and professional playwrights the chance to see their work produced in the community. Educational opportunities in Theatre Arts are available throughout the year to children, teens and adults alike. And as our Season has expanded, audiences can experience almost every genre of the Theatrical Arts and the stage is never dark.
Pictured above, right: Celebrating the lease of the building at 142 East de Vargas for Santa Fe Community Theatre, January, 1962. Left to right: Anabel Haas, Robert W. Jerkins, Dorothy Best Donnelly, Joseph E. Paull, Thomas A. Donnelly. These five people, plus Clay and Liz Buchanan and Bebs Lacey, had written the 1961 Melodrama, the first of the “home-grown” satires, with Sylvia Loomis contributing lyrics. It was the hassle of taking down the wet revival tent (it snowed after the last performance) and the cost of storing it until it could be returned to the tent company that convinced Santa Fe Community Theatre President Dorothy Donnelly to find Community Theatre a real home of its own, after years of finding rehearsal and performance space wherever it could.