Did you know - Queensbury Theatre, known originally as Country Playhouse, is celebrating 65 years?
The Country Playhouse first opened its doors in 1956. Founded at a time when that corner of Houston was still the "country" of its name, initial performances were held in community spaces - backyards and elementary schools. The next 25 years saw the little theatre that could travel from space to space - an abandoned church on Katy Road in 1958, a barn-like structure built on Barryknoll Lane in 1960, and the lot across from Town and Country Mall in 1981.
For years, this two stage theatre space, named after charter members Herb & Alceste Cerwinske, housed theatrical events ranging from cutting edge plays to commercial classics to live readings. Longtime members of the neighborhood and theatre community remember spending time in the Barryknoll space - attending a class taught by Barbara Lasater, bringing family and friends to a production of the recurring fan favorite, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, helping pitch in to sew costumes, paint sets or usher on a crowded Saturday night, or performing in their first professional production as a young actor fresh on the local scene. For 30 years this space served as a home for local artists and audiences alike - until three decades later, when the theatre took it's next evolutionary leap forward - both in venue and in name.
In 2012 the board of Country Playhouse entered discussions with longtime Houston corporate and community leader, Dan Moody III and his company, Moody Rambin, resulting in the construction of the beautiful new building, designed and built by Kirksey Architecture, along with a new name - Queensbury Theatre. In 2015 Queensbury Theatre opened its doors - presenting a first professional season on both the brand new Main Stage and Black Box, as well as introducing its new education wing, The Tribble School for the Performing Arts.
Named after Houston mainstay theatre supporters and philanthropists, Jay & Charlotte Tribble, the Tribble School offers musical theatre, acting and dance training and performance opportunities, and - in the 7 years since its inception - has staged more than 100 fully staged musicals, plays, dance concerts, cabaret showcases, and reached over 1,000 students of all ages and backgrounds in the greater Houston area.
Over the past 65 years - whether in a barn, a backyard, or a state of the art modern facility - the heart of the theatre has remained unchanged. Built on the belief that art can make a lasting difference in the lives of every person it touches, and can be produced in quality and creative ways outside of the downtown district - Country Playhouse and Queensbury Theatre have strived to offer a home away from home to actors, musicians, dancers, educators, audiences, playwrights, designers, students, technicians, and volunteers alike.
As we head into the coming year, your support means more than it ever has. During a time when so much of the world is change, art and community have never been more important. The charitable donations you give - for Giving Tuesday, Year End Giving, the Pledge Campaign, the Annual Gala, and beyond - each and every contribution truly makes all the difference in allowing us to keep our doors open, and to continue creating, connecting, and growing for the next 65 years to come!