Brevard Little Theatre dates back to the 1930's, when Beulah Zachary, a young school teacher with a penchant for organization and direction of theatrical productions, launched the first community theater in Brevard. Ms. Zachary later left the teaching profession and pursued a successful career as a professional stage manager in New York City’s theatrical scene. When television entered the scene, she moved to Chicago and became the producer of the popular puppet show Kukla, Fran and Ollie.
During World War II, with most of the young men in the military services and with women doing double duty on the home front, BLT was disbanded until August of 1949, when a group of about 40 theater enthusiasts met to reestablish community theater in Brevard. Under the leadership of Carolyn Winchester as president, R.M. Leavey as vice president, Frances Walker as secretary and Howard Schmidt as treasurer, and with the guidance of Robroy Farquhar, who had founded Flat Rock Playhouse, a newly-reorganized BLT emerged. With Farquhar serving as the “resident director” for more than a decade, BLT embarked on a nearly half a century of theatrical productions.
In the fall of 1950, the first postwar BLT play, Peg O' My Heart by Hartley Manners, was staged in what is now Brevard Middle School, with season ticket prices hovering around $0.10. Also during this time, BLT took its shows "on the road" to the Veterans Administration hospitals in Swannanoa and Oteen, as well as to the Mary Jenkins Community Center.
Beulah Zachary’s vision continued to gain steam with increasing numbers of patrons who had been exposed to these productions. She continued to support Brevard Little Theatre and regretfully was killed in a NY plane crash in 1959. After her untimely death and in keeping with her wishes, her estate made a generous donation to BLT.
All who have shown their support as actors, volunteers, board members, donors and patrons have carried out Zachary’s vision to bring community theater to Brevard. We are ever grateful to all who continue to bring performing arts to this community.
*Adapted from “The Early Years” by Jeanette Austin
When BLT was first formed, no permanent home existed. Actors performed in various locations throughout Brevard. These included:
The Crafton Motor Company Building (now the Transylvania
Times Building) 1935
Old Brevard High School Auditorium 1950
Transylvania County Courthouse 1951
American Legion Hall 1952-1958
Brevard College Auditorium 1958
Fellowship Hall, First Methodist Church of Brevard
Brevard Little Theatre Building
Camp Straus Amphitheatre
Barn Theatre, Brevard College
Dunham Auditorium, Brevard College
Brevard Middle School Auditorium
Rosman High School Auditorium