A brief history of the Gold Coast Little Theatre

The group was formed in March 1950 after the wife of the editor of the Gold Coast Bulletin called a public meeting, which was attended by, amongst others, Gerda Pinter. The aim of the meeting was to discuss cultural activities on the Gold Coast and by the time the meeting was over they had decided to form a community theatre group known as the South Coast Little Theatre. Ken Price of the old law firm Price and Roobottom was the first president of the group and Barbara Andrews (from the well known Andrews family) was the secretary: they performed in the Diggers Hall at the Southport RSL in Scarborough Street and rehearsed in a kindergarten which was situated where the fig tree courtyard is now at Australia Fair.

The first production was performed in May of that year; a selection of three One-Act Plays all directed by the late Joan Ross. The three plays were THE LION TAMER (A comedy) by H. Drake-Brockmann, WOMEN AT WAR (A Drama) by Edward Percy and THE AGE OF LEISURE (A Satire) by Neil Grant.

In 1964 the theatre group was incorporated by Letters Patent and became known as Gold Coast Little Theatre. The original members approached the citizens of Southport and, raising over £1400 from debentures, they purchased a block of land in Scarborough Street - later, a second adjacent block was donated to the group by Dr Mackie, and these blocks were eventually amalgamated in the 1980s. The members then acquired two World War II Army huts which were placed on the land in Scarborough Street and these became meeting rooms. Eventually the two Army huts were moved to where they are now behind the main theatre and placed one on top of the other. Maurice Glassman was the member who led the campaign to raise money to purchase seats from an old movie house in Brisbane that were installed upstairs in the Army huts, and the first production in this dedicated intimate theatre space was presented in 1969, THE BALD PRIMA DONNA.

In the 1970s, the late Molly Leggett would hold Saturday morning classes for young Gold Coasters who were too young to join in the regular membership; Molly also directed a number of plays for adult actors during her time at GCLT. Now used for rehearsals and costumes, the original building later became known as Mollys in the 1990s as a memorial to Molly's dedication.

In 1980, Julanne Shearer wrote a submission on behalf of Gold Coast Little Theatre to the Queensland Government for a capital grant, and in July 1983 the current theatre building was officially opened. It had been built at a cost of $322,000; half of that money was raised by Gold Coast Little Theatre members, and the other half came from the capital grant from the Queensland Government. At the time it was the largest cultural capital grant ever made by the Queensland Government. The first play staged in the new theatre was THE CRUCIBLE, directed by Julanne Shearer.

From humble beginnings in 1950 in borrowed premises, the Gold Coast Little Theatre is now in its 65th year, the last 32 of which have been spent in our own dedicated, purpose-built theatre in Southport. The company has presented over 200 productions in its six-decade history, and looks forward to continuing to provide quality entertainment on the Gold Coast for many more years to come.

PRODUCTIONS 1950 - 2016 >>