What is our history?
The Pocket Theatre was "born" in 1991 at the former Hot Springs Factory Outlet Mall.
Mark Britton and Linda Kercado's newly formed production company, Marlin Productions,
and the original owners and management of the Factory Outlet Stores teamed up to
produce "Love Rides the Rails".
The mall donated $100, the use of a tent and folding chairs. Mark built the stage
complete with foot lights, and formed a cast and crew from volunteer theater lovers.
"We built it and they did come", says Mark. An old-fashioned melodrama complete with
popcorn throwing, booing, hissing and cheering! So many people came that they were
encouraged to bring their own chairs!
Its success led Mark and Linda to approach management with the idea of producing shows
through the winter '"indoors" . An empty store and metal folding chairs were provided
by the mall.
The little production company (almost small enough to put in your pocket) moved indoors,
built a little stage and put on great plays. Audiences grew and filled the 100 uncomfortable
folding chairs for every show.
In late 1996, The Pocket Theatre incorporated as a non-profit 501 (C) (3) Corporation. (All
donations are tax deductible.)
Audiences increased and the store facility was outgrown. In late 1997 The Pocket Theatre
moved into its next location on Higdon Ferry Road. There were 177 comfortable seats, a
larger stage and even a sound and light booth!
The first show at the Higdon Ferry theatre was "Angel Street" in January of 1998. We had
47 productions at the Higdon Ferry Theatre including our first Children's Theatre Workshops
and our first musical productions, and a couple of shows produced by other groups. Our
tenth season inauguration was held at our Higdon Ferry location
on May 2, 2002. Our
last show at Higdon Ferry was "Second Time Around" in July of 2005.
A plan was developed to work toward owning our own building. In this way we could ensure
stability and could choose a site where we didn't have to deal with noise from neighboring
businesses. After much effort and searching, a suitable location was chosen early in 2005
which we then aquired. After a great deal of work preparing the building for productions, we
were able to open the new building with the final show of the 2005 season, October's "Harvey".
Our new building is located at the corner of Ravine and Ramble Streets off Park Avenue in
downtown Hot Springs. The building is the former Ramble Elementary School auditorium which
was closed as a school in the Spring of 1967 when Park Elementary opened. At least one of
its former students has become fairly well known nation-wide, former President Bill Clinton.
After closing the main school building was torn down and the auditorium has been used for
a variety of purposes including a couple of churches before we acquired it.
The building is a two story structure with a large auditorium, lobby, restrooms in the lobby
and backstage, rehearsal hall, kitchen, workshop, storage rooms, and a fenced-in, paved parking
lot! It gives us room to grow and gives us more opportunity to present a wider variety of shows.
In September of 2006, thanks to the hard work of two "strapping" young men,
Christopher Powers and Joshua Williams, the Pocket Theatre now has
two stages in our building. The new stage is The Pocket Black Box
, a black box theater located in the basement of our building
at Ramble and Ravine and accessed through a back door located down a
flight of steps at the rear of the building.
The purpose of the new stage is to allow actors and directors an
opportunity to explore challenging and meaningful productions that
may not have the support or popularity to be considered for the main
Pocket Theatre stage. It should be noted that some of these plays are
modern dramas and comedies which are written from a very frank and
modern viewpoint. Therefore the emotions expressed and language used
can be raw and mature in nature.
In particular, Back Pocket Productions, also founded by Christopher
Powers and Joshua Williams, seeks to produce plays that specifically
appeal to young adults, with the hopes of getting more young people
interested in theatre. With the production of their first four plays,
W.A.S.P. by Steve Martin, Naomi in the Living Room
by Christopher Durrang, The Problem by A.R. Gurney Jr., and
Boys' Life by Howard Korder, it has definitely given our
young actors further experience, and based on the audiences, we have
seen more young people drawn to the theatre.
We are proud of this new stage and the contemporary art forms it
promotes and we hope it continues to thrive and help the Pocket Theatre
in its general growth as well.
In October of 2006, we completed a set of risers for our audience in time for the opening of
The Trip to Bountiful. This corrects some of the sight line problems audiences were
experiencing and should also help with some of hearing problems as well. This is the first of
many capital improvements to the theatre we have planned to improve the experience for our patrons.
May of 2007 has seen the accomplishment of our second capital improvement project,
in time for The Nerd, a proper sound and light booth. This will allow our light and sound
technicians to have more flexibility in what they can do without interfering with the experience
of the audience.
In the fall of 2009, the name of the theater was changed to the Pocket Community Theatre.
Our mission is to provide quality productions at reasonable
prices for the citizens of Hot Springs and surrounding communities and to
build for the future by involving young people today.
Who are we supported by and associated with?
The Pocket Community Theatre is incorporated as a non-profit 501 (C) (3) Corporation. (All donations are tax deductible.)
The Pocket Community Theatre is proud to be a member of The American Association of Community Theater
The Pocket Community Theatre is located in beautiful Hot Springs, Arkansas