Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg thrives as an all-volunteer community theatre because the volunteers have the same spirit and love for theatre today that began with a small group of people who loved theatre and met at the Mechanicsburg Junior High School to read plays in the late 1940s. The group’s enthusiasm led to incorporation as the Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg in 1950.
The one-room, red-brick Kohlertown School House building, located at 915 South York Street, Mechanicsburg, was purchased in 1964 for ten dollars. The schoolhouse, built in 1863, became the Theatre house, with only a pot-bellied coal stove providing heat during the winter months.
Up until the 1970s, there were no dressing rooms or indoor restrooms. Actors had to change costumes in cars, warmed themselves in the winter by a small fire in the parking lot, and entered the stage directly from the outdoors. The original brick outhouse (now used to store lawn and garden tools) served as the only restroom for both audiences and actors.
Over the past three decades, many additions and improvements to the building have been made possible by volunteers and charitable contributions from corporations and individuals, including: two lobby spaces with restrooms for patrons, two dressing rooms with a restroom for the cast, a light booth, new seats and a new sound system. With the early renovations, the building lost its historical status, but gained much needed and valued space.
Since its inception, the Theatre has read or performed original works. The first show documented to have been performed on the stage was an original Christmas production. A Playwrights’ Workshop was established under the umbrella of LTM in 1998.
LTM hired its first part-time, salaried worker in 1998 to improve Box Office operations. The Theatre remains an all-volunteer organization in every other aspect of production and operations.
The Theatre became one of the original affiliates of the Allied Arts Fund in 1985.
LTM has been a member of the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) since 1998.
The theatre became a member of the Mechanicsburg Chamber of Commerce in 1998 and has participated in related community functions, (i.e. Halloween Haunted Houses and Christmas Tree Lightings in the square).
As a non-profit organization, LTM’s purpose is to promote the highest standards in production and appreciation of the theatre arts by conducting a civil, cultural, and educational program. LTM is exclusively educational, within the intendment of Section 501(c) 3 of the 1954 United States Internal Revenue Code.