Published on: Mon, Jun 17, 2019

Celebrating 50 years of Denton’s Longest-Running Theatre Company

Stepping into the historic Campus Theater can feel a bit like walking into a different time and place. From the retro neon marquee to the freestanding box office, it’s easy to picture patrons from the 50s, hustling and bustling through downtown Denton on their way to a show under the marvelous marquee back when it was a movie theater. This legendary building is Denton Community Theatre’s (DCT) home base.

This year marks DCT’s 50th season of plays, musicals, and community events. DCT has been producing shows for the Denton community since 1969, confirms DCT Managing Director Mike Barrow.

“In 1969, the City of Denton was interested in having cultural events, and one of those was a production of Our Town,” Barrow says. Several people involved with the production of the play decided to found a community theatre company in order to ensure that Denton’s residents would have consistent access to the performing arts, whether as audience members or actors.

Now half a century from its humble beginnings, DCT has become a cornerstone of fine arts in Denton. That status as a pillar of the arts makes Barrow beam with pride.

“DCT went for many years without having a permanent performance space, to now managing the Campus Theater,” Barrow says.

The Campus Theater isn’t just home to DCT — it’s also the headquarters for Music Theatre of Denton (MTD), founded in the 1980s under the moniker Denton Light Opera. The company formed primarily to perform the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, but as time passed, MTD began producing fewer light operas and more Broadway-style musicals.

Now these two Denton institutions are opening a new chapter by merging their operations.

“Since both companies produce musicals and often use the same talent, both on and off stage, it made good sense to combine the two,” Barrow says.

DCT’s production season runs from September through August of the following year. This summer’s productions include Lend Me a Tenor, The Marvelous Wonderettes (which is the featured production for their annual fundraiser) and Cats. Two other productions, Fool for Love and Late, a Cowboy Song will be performed at the Black Box Theater.

So how does DCT plan to celebrate 50 years of quality community theater?

“Plans will be revealed on the opening gala night of The Marvelous Wonderettes,” Barrow said. Looks like we’ll have to wait until showtime.