HCT Board of Directors
History of HCT
“The Show Must Go On” … and it has for the past 57 years at the Hastings Community Theatre. Over those years Hastings Community Theatre has made audiences laugh, cry, sing, smile, and think. Fifty five years is a long time for any organization to survive – especially an artistic, all volunteer group. Yes, that’s right. The theatre has flourished 57 years on a completely volunteer basis – no one is paid – except by applause. There is nothing quite like live theatre entertainment.
The theatre takes pride in being a valued part of the community. During the early years, the theatre had no home, and rehearsals, props and costumes were in a variety of locations around town. Performances were any place that had a stage or a space where a stage could be created including the Masonic Temple, the city auditorium, KHAS auditorium, the old Hastings Junior High building, and Central Community College. In 1974 HCT collaborated with Hastings College Music Department and the Masonic Temple Theatre to present its first musical, “Hello Dolly”. Other musicals followed, bringing crowds to the 800 seat Masonic Theatre. A partial list includes, “Oklahoma”, “My Fair Lady”, “The Music Man”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “The Wizard of Oz”, and most recently “Shrek the Musical”.
In 1979, HCT board member, Bill Sole, made arrangements with Good Samaritan Village for the theatre to have use of the old Spencer Park School. The arrangement was a rent-free agreement with the theatre being responsible for the building inside and out. The building had been vacant for a time and needed a great deal of work. There was no heat in the building and ankle-deep water covered the floor in the auditorium space. HCT board members and friends were more than delighted and willing to work in order to have a home at last. In fact, most of the remodeling was carried out by volunteers. The late Paul Hohnstein, a valued board member and friend, spent hours constructing the auditorium which is still efficient today. After months of work, HCT presented the first show in the new theatre (“Life with Father”) in February of 1981. Improvements have been made in each season since, and the board is currently raising funds for much needed restroom improvements.
HCT also reaches out to students. The HCT Kids program provides summer theatre experiences for grade school through high school students. In addition, the theatre is now in its second year of hosting a show choir competition for regional high school students.
Over the years HCT has collaborated with other local entities to bring live theatre entertainment to our area. The most recent collaboration was with the Hastings Symphony Orchestra in early 2014 when they combined forces to present “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.
The Hastings Community Theatre’s mission is to conduct activities of a cultural and educational nature for the public benefit by providing opportunities for the community to participate in the study, practice and production of all phases of the theatrical arts. Over the past 57 years hundreds of people have had the opportunity to learn theatrical arts through the activities provided at HCT. Hastings Community Theatre has educated actors, directors, producers, lighting and sound crews, set constructions crews … the list goes on and on. Those who have not actively participated on stage or behind the scenes have participated as audience members.
HCT has presented hundreds of performances. Shows such as “On Golden Pond”, Of Mice and Men”, “Arsenic and Old Lace”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, “Harvey”, “Joseph and the Amazing Dreamcoat”, and “Shrek the Musical” have provided audiences with the best live theatre in the area. Fifty-six years of live theatre could not have been possible with the many, many dedicated and talented community members who have been involved with Hastings Community Theatre. HCT is proud of its past and knows “The Show WILL Go On” for many years to come.
Mission of Hastings Community Theatre
Hastings Community Theatre is organized to conduct activities of a cultural and educational nature for the public benefit by providing opportunities for the community to participate in the study, practice and production of all phases of the theatrical arts.