"To promote, organize, rehearse, and present theatrical productions for the education, entertainment, enjoyment, and cultural enrichment of the Pittsburg and Crawford County, Kansas, area."
Following the conclusion of Pittsburg's Bicentennial celebration, a number of enthusiastic and talented individuals who had presented a well-received production of “That Printer of Udell's" (written by former resident Harold Bell Wright) discussed the possibility of continuing with community theatre.
Toward that goal, they polled residents and contacted the city's Parks & Recreation Department and the Pittsburg Area Arts and Crafts Association for possible sponsorship and assistance. The feedback was positive, and they began raising funds for an opening production. Bake sales and financial sponsorships from supportive individuals and businesses, in addition to offers of performance space and equipment from both Parks & Recreation and PAACA, resulted in the initial performance of Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man" in November 1979. The enthusiastic response of the community resulted in a profit of $3,000.00, which provided the money necessary to continue.
During 1980 and the spring of 1981, PCT produced six shows, and members of the fledgling theater group determined that enough support existed to apply for non-profit organization status.
The organization selected a governing board of directors, with Tom Hemmens elected to serve as the first president. After gaining approval from the state, on April 30, 1981, Pittsburg Community Theatre became a non-profit organization.
The City of Pittsburg granted continuing performance, office, prop, and costume storage space in Memorial Auditorium as part of an agreement to produce at least three shows per calendar year, and pay appropriate rental fees. This gave PCT a home and greatly increased the group's status and visibility in the community.
From the remainder of 1981 through March of 1982, PCT continued to present its shows in Memorial Auditorium. The facility was constructed in the 1920s; and, as such, presented production challenges . It had no functioning sound system, an antiquated light board and stage lights, and a stage that was very wide and high — difficult for set building. Tearing it down was discussed, but a few dedicated individuals — most notably Beverly Cochran, the then-director of PAACA — campaigned for its renovation. When the City Commission proposed a sales tax, partly earmarked for this purpose, members of PAACA and PCT, among others, went door to door to encourage the citizens of Pittsburg to vote in favor of it.
While PCT members were overjoyed at its approval, it meant being homeless during the auditorium's renovation. PCT had to locate storage for props, costumes, scenery, and performance space for shows. Again, PCT was encouraged by the support it received, as Parks & Recreation, community schools, churches, and Kansas State College (now Pittsburg State University) each provided locations in which to perform. From July 1982 to November 1984, PCT produced shows in ten different locations!
When Memorial Auditorium's transformation was completed, PCT was honored to present the first theatrical production in the newly renovated space, "Cheaper by the Dozen," in February 1985. PCT was finally home, and it was a beautiful one.
PCT has been fortunate to receive continuing support in a variety of ways from the City of Pittsburg. Several years ago, the commission, through funds it has available to encourage organizations that benefit the quality of life in Pittsburg, granted PCT in-kind subsidies for the rental of Memorial Auditorium. While additional operating expenses still exist, this is an indication of the encouragement that the City continues to give the organization.
During the 2006 season, its 25th season as a non-profit, PCT completed its 100th production. Fittingly, it was the "Music Man," a tribute to the dedicated men and women whose vision and perseverance made PCT a reality. The members of Pittsburg Community Theatre are very proud of our history and heritage. We also realize that for any organization to continue, it must maintain its connection to the community and area in which it exists, and to fulfill its mission. Towards that goal, we, the members and supporters of PCT will continue to work.