Mission & History
We inspire and nurture a love of theatre and the arts.
Our goals include:
- The establishment and maintenance of a permanent multi-arts and theatre facility.
- The sponsorship and coordination of education and cultural programming in visual arts, theatre and community events.
Audiences enjoying the corporation's programming come from the Portland metropolitan area; Vancouver, Washington and the greater Willamette valley.
The Lakewood Theatre Company is a popular and financially successful member of the arts community, it is the cornerstone around which Lakewood Center for the Arts has been built. Lakewood Theatre Company began in November, 1952, when a group of Lake Oswego residents decided that their community was not complete without a theatre and decided to organize what was known as the Oswego Players. From that first production of Blithe Spirit, the players performed in junior and senior high schools and halls throughout the Lake Oswego area, having no permanent home during its first nine years.
In 1961, a fund drive was launched that led to the purchase of a vacant Methodist church on Greenwood Road. Beginning with Arsenic and Old Lace, the company, then known as Lake Oswego Community Theatre, staged more than 110 productions there before they outgrew the facility. By then the I00 seat theatre was continuously sold out, the building provided no room for class and rehearsal space, and off-stage storage was extremely limited.
When the Lakewood School became available in 1979, an advisory task force determined that acquiring the building would encourage people to learn, teach, display and, above all, participate in the arts. With this in mind, the Lakewood Theatre Company nonprofit corporation decided to expand its purposes and became the Lakewood Center for the Arts.
A $1.1 million capital fund was established to purchase and renovate the school and put programs on line. After eight years, in 1987, the goal was realized and the final payment was made to the school board. The funds came from individuals, businesses, corporations, foundations and civic groups. None of the money came from city, state or federal sources.
In the fall of 1990 the theatre company changed its name from Lake Oswego Community Theatre to Lakewood Theatre Company. The name change was instituted to more closely identify the theatre with the programs at the Center and its mission of providing high quality entertainment and education.
In November, 2003 Lakewood completed a $3 million project to build a new stage house for Lakewood Theatre Company. The new auditorium features 220 seats with none further than 35 feet from the stage, a new stage house with fly lofts, traps and a new hearing-assisted sound system. Theatre programs now enjoy an average 85-90% sell out rate, mostly from pre-sold subscription packages.
Milestones and Interesting Facts about Lakewood