Throwback Thursday: An inside look at Public Theater of SA, the oldest in South Texas

SAN ANTONIO – Located inside the San Pedro Playhouse, the Public Theater of San Antonio has served as the largest professional and historical live theater organization in the city.

“The mission statement of our organization is to produce live professional theater that educates, inspires and connects communities,” said George Green, CEO Artistic Director at Public Theater. “Our vision is theater for all.”

The theater was founded in 1912 as the San Antonio Dramatic Club. It became the San Antonio Little Theater and moved into the San Pedro Playhouse in 1929.

Countless performers, artists and staff members have walked through the doors, produced live shows and helped the theater evolve over time.

The Rogers Auditorium is home to larger musicals, while the more intimate cellar theater hosts classic and contemporary plays.

“It’s amazing how many times people come into the building and are like, ‘Wow, I didn’t even know this place existed, I didn’t know this was a theater,’” said Green.

The organization recently rebranded, becoming the Public Theater of San Antonio, in an effort to align the organization’s new vision to the needs of the region.

That vision includes a movement to become equity professional theater, which aligns the theater with the national union for actors and stage managers.

“San Antonio has never had a true regional theater. That’s our mission, that’s our drive that we're going to,” Green said. “We actually flip that switch 100 percent going into next year.”

Part of the mission is keeping talented artists and performers in San Antonio.

“It’s vital to our economy and industry to have a true theatrical industry here, for local artists to find a place to work so when they come in they can understand that they are valued,” Green said.

The future of the theater is bright. Multiple shows are set for next year and beyond. The 2019-20 lineup features classics that are new to patrons and guests.

“We open (the) season with "Mary Poppins," "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder," "Amelie," "First Date," "Into the Woods," great Texas premieres that people have not seen in our area,” Green said.

The future also includes a new academy for youth and adult performers where dance, voice, acting, music lessons and camps will soon be available.

Guests from all over the world are welcome, but the core audience comes from Bexar County and San Antonio.

“For us to be able to be San Antonio’s first equity theater, still in this building is a huge accomplishment,” Green said. “I think it says a lot about the city and patrons that support it.”


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