On May 3, 1963, the first Arkansas Arts Center produced show took place in its theatre

The Arts Center Theatre view from the stage in 1963

On May 3, 1963, at 8:30 pm, the curtain rose as the Arkansas Arts Center produced its first show in its own theatre.  Though the building would not be officially dedicated until later in May (more about that later), programming had been taking place in the facility for several months.

In December 1962, a community theatre production was the first play in the Arkansas Arts Center theatre.  Over the ensuing months, it would play host to a variety of concerts and performances.  At the time, the Arkansas Arts Center planned to use the theatre as a house for its own productions (one series geared to adults, the other series geared to kids), other shows produced by Little Rock organizations, and touring shows which might be too small for Robinson Auditorium.

Friday, May 3, 1963, was a momentous evening, as the Arkansas Arts Center presented Rumpelstiltskin.  (Since the theatre space has been focused on children’s theatre since the late 1970s, it seems prescient that the first AAC produced play was a children’s production some fifteen years earlier.)

The production was overseen Joseph N. Carner, who was the theatre director.  It was his hope that the Arts Center plays geared toward children would also encourage other groups throughout the state to produce plays specifically for younger audiences.  Margaret Davies Carner, who taught speech at Little Rock University, directed the play.  She also taught drama classes at the Arts Center.

The cast included Garry White as the title character with Dell Blaine, Michael Hosman, Lesie Smith, Tom Abraham, Dickie Atchison, Butch Lashee, Henry Fletcher, Charles McRaven, Ann Thomson, Dannette Joe Baker, Sallie Penn, Paul Motes, Leslie Newell, and Robin Hosman.

In addition to a Friday night performance, there were 2:30 matinees on Saturday and Sunday that were geared toward children’s audiences.

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Little Rock Look Back: Arkansas Arts Center produces first play at its theatre

The Arts Center Theatre view from the stage in 1963

On May 3, 1963, at 8:30 pm, the curtain rose as the Arkansas Arts Center produced its first show in its own theatre.  Though the building would not be officially dedicated until later in May (more about that later), programming had been taking place in the facility for several months.

In December 1962, a community theatre production was the first play in the Arkansas Arts Center theatre.  Over the ensuing months, it would play host to a variety of concerts and performances.  At the time, the Arkansas Arts Center planned to use the theatre as a house for its own productions (one series geared to adults, the other series geared to kids), other shows produced by Little Rock organizations, and touring shows which might be too small for Robinson Auditorium.

Friday, May 3, 1963, was a momentous evening, as the Arkansas Arts Center presented Rumpelstiltskin.  (Since the theatre space has been focused on children’s theatre since the late 1970s, it seems prescient that the first AAC produced play was a children’s production some fifteen years earlier.)

The production was overseen Joseph N. Carner, who was the theatre director.  It was his hope that the Arts Center plays geared toward children would also encourage other groups throughout the state to produce plays specifically for younger audiences.  Margaret Davies Carner, who taught speech at Little Rock University, directed the play.  She also taught drama classes at the Arts Center.

The cast included Garry White as the title character with Dell Blaine, Michael Hosman, Lesie Smith, Tom Abraham, Dickie Atchison, Butch Lashee, henry Fletcher, Charles McRaven, Ann Thomson, Dannette Joe Baker, Sallie Penn, Paul Motes, Leslie Newell, and Robin Hosman.

In addition to a Friday night performance, there were 2:30 matinees on Saturday and Sunday that were geared toward children’s audiences.

Straw Gets Spun into Gold as RUMPELSTILTSKIN takes stage at Arts Center Children’s Theatre

AACCTrumpThe Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre presents Rumpelstiltskin through February 8, 2015.

“The magical tale of Rumpelstiltskin takes the audience on an action-packed journey that is familiar to so many generations,” said Todd Herman, executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center. “We invite the community to experience the enchantment of this wonderful play.”

Once upon a time, there was a dwarf who tried to take things that just weren’t his. Now, this dwarf lived in a land that was ruled by a king whose greed was as grand as his kingdom. And in that kingdom, there lived a miller whose bragging mouth was nearly as grand as the king’s greed. And it so happened that this miller had a lovely daughter who was kind and good, but one day she did a very bad thing –  she made a promise she could not keep. Now, the king is angry, the miller is frightened, and the dwarf is simply out of control.

Wheels spin and straw flies as the miller’s daughter works madly to make things right again, but the only way she can is by discovering the mean old dwarf’s secret true name. In searching for that, she discovers the only power in the world that will help her. The most magical power of all: love.

This production is adapted for the stage by Keith Smith from the Brothers Grimm.

The cast for Rumpelstiltskin includes:

  • Nate Plummer as Rumpelstiltskin
  • Lauren Linton as The Miller’s Daughter
  • Mark Hansen as The King
  • John Isner as The Miller

Bradley Anderson is the artistic director and Keith Smith is the playwright and set designer for the production. Costumes are designed by Erin Larkin; technical direction by Drew Posey; lighting design by Penelope Poppers; properties design by Miranda Young and Sarah Gasser is the stage manager.

Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Puppets, Kings and Robbers Hightlight 2014-2015 Season of Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

aac_logo_childrens_theatreAs the state’s leader in international, visual and performing arts, the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre announces a sensational lineup of productions for the 2014–15 season.

“Our 2014-15 season has a diverse and innovative line-up of talented actors and compelling stories that reflect our continued tradition of bringing joy and laughter into the hearts of our audience,” said Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre artistic director Bradley Anderson. “Our upcoming season will offer something for everyone and we can’t wait to bring our audience back for six consecutive productions sure to delight children of all ages.”

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre will open the 2014-15 season with Go, Dog. Go! September 17 – October 5, 2014. Watch the stage explode with a delight of color, motion, music and dogs in this captivating adaptation of P. D. Eastman’s famous canine extravaganza. Go, Dog. Go! is adapted for the stage by Stephen Dietz and Allison Gregory.

Magic and morality abound this fall when Pinocchio takes the stage on October 24 – November 9, 2014. One day, by a stroke of incredible luck, this commonplace piece of lumber found its way into the skilled hands of Geppetto the wood carver. And so, the world’s most famous marionette, Pinocchio, was born. Come join the fun as the little puppet runs away to discover the world. The audience will enjoy the fun and share Geppetto’s delight as his little Pinocchio learns an important lesson. The production is written by Alan Keith Smith based on the story by Carlo Collodi.

Spend quality time with the family this holiday season with The Velveteen Rabbit on November 28 – December 21, 2014. The audience will be thrilled with this Christmas themed childhood favorite as the story of a stuffed rabbit and his quest to become real through the love of his owner come to life on stage. The Velveteen Rabbit is written by Alan Keith Smith and based on the story by Margery Williams.

arkartsTake a break from the winter wonderland to see the world famous Grimm’s fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin take the stage January 21 – February 8, 2015. Watch as the miller whose bragging mouth was nearly as grand as the king’s greed gets his lovely daughter into a bit of a mess. The story takes the audience on an adventure while the characters facing life-altering decisions, broken promises and an array of mysterious events through the power of friendship, the destructive nature of vanity and greed and the value of forgiveness. Rumpelstiltskin is adapted for the stage by Alan Keith Smith.

Ever been stuck inside when the weather is blue? The Cat in the Hat has fun in store for you as one of the most familiar and beloved picture books of the last half century erupts with fun on the Children’s Theatre stage on March 5 – March 29, 2015. Sally and her brother are miserably bored on a rainy day until they cross paths with the Cat in the Hat and he’s just in time to show the kids a Thing or two about fun. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss is adapted for the stage by Katie Mitchell.

Just in time for spring, audiences will rally with Robin Hood and his merry band as they outwit and outclass the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham in The Legend of Robin Hood on stage April 24 – May 10, 2015. Join the Children’s Theatre on a glorious adventure with charm and wit that never fails to rouse our hearts in the age-old battle of good versus evil. The Legend of Robin Hood is written by Alan Keith Smith.

Current presenting sponsors for this Children’s Theatre season are Landers Fiat, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Centennial Bank, JPMS Cox and the media partner is Little Rock Family magazine.

Tickets are $12.50 for children and adults and $10 for Arkansas Arts Center members. Season ticket packages are available. For more information, visit arkansasartscenter.org or call (501) 372-4000.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Contact: (501) 372-4000

Location: Arkansas Arts Center – 9th and Commerce, Little Rock, AR 72202

Gallery Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Closed Monday & Major Holidays

 

Arkansas Arts Center programs are supported in part by: the City of Little Rock; the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau; the City of North Little Rock; and the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the National Endowment for the Arts.