Workshops were held in the storage room of
Palace Clothiers, which later became the location of the Ritz Theater. By 1925, the Little Theatre group numbered over 300 members and began
to perform at the Alhambra Theater at 15th and Peoria. In 1929, the
Little Theatre purchased the property at 15th and Delaware, which
would be its home for the next 60 years. East Lynne, the
first production at their new location was performed in a tent.
depression, the Tulsa Little Theatre continued its performances and in 1932 completed
its permanent building. During the 1930's and '40's, the Delaware
Playhouse, as it became known, was the epicenter of
arts and entertainment scene. Over the years, the theater hosted
hundreds of plays and entertainment events as it went through multiple
directors and saw actors come and go.
In 1965, the theatre
suffered a fire after its third performance of The Women,
resulting in the destruction of stage props, furniture, and costumes. Just a year later, the theatre suffered yet another blaze during the
production of South Pacific. Though the fire destroyed much of
the upstairs property, the theatre persevered.
In 1974, the troupe
changed its name to Theatre Tulsa, Inc. but remained in the art
nouveau location. More than a decade later, in 1989, the
group had outgrown their building and moved to the
Performing Arts Center, where it continues to be the resident company
of the facility.
For the next two years the old theatre
building sat vacant until it finally sold. Over the next decade, the
aging building changed hands several times, and was utilized for
several purposes, including a church, a nightclub, and a recording
By 2004, the 10,000 square-foot building
had fallen into serious disrepair and suffered from criminal neglect. It was at this time that attorney; Bryce A. Hill was looking for a
midtown location for his law office. Though the site was ideal, near
the historic Cherry Street district, Hill and his wife, Sunshine,
thought long and hard before purchasing the dilapidated property.
When they did, the old
building smelled of decay, was filled with trash, and water seeped from
the walls, floors, and ceilings.
The Tulsa Little Theatre, located in an unassuming brick building at 15th and
Delaware Streets in Tulsa,
is not only steeped in history, but is also said to be home to several
Built in 1932 by the
Tulsa Little Theatre group, in an extremely plain art nouveau design, the
first show produced in their new building was the Cradle Song.
the beginning, the Little Theatre troupe had no permanent location when it
started offering productions in 1922.
However, they were
undeterred, maintaining that "the show must go on," in any place they
could find – large canvas tents, movie theaters and even at the
American Legion, before they finally found built their permanent home
at 15th and Delaware.
For the next 14 months,
the Hills renovated the building, restoring much of it to its original
1932 façade and revamping the front portion of the building to utilize as