A BRIEF HISTORY OF "DLT"
Dundas Little Theatre Inc. was founded in 1960 by a small group of community theatre enthusiasts attracted by a tiny article published in a local newspaper. They huddled themselves in the basement of the late Don Garstin's Dundas home for their first meeting
For twenty years they performed in school and church auditoriums while holding their rehearsals in a back room provided free of charge by a local department store. It was during this time that they came up with the idea of the intimate theatre-in-the-round experience. Having noticed the sparse audiences spread thinly in large auditoriums they decided to invite the audience up onto the stage with them to be seated on three sides while they performed in the centre.
In 1978, it became clear that they needed a home of their own after receiving notice that they must vacate their beloved rehearsal space. At a hastily called meeting in a toy store while they sat on the floor they decided to initiate a fund raising campaign for a theatre. They were delighted when the Town Of Dundas offered the site of a recently closed outdoor swimming pool. The offer was graciously accepted.
Wintario, a government lottery corporation, stepped in to match their fund raising efforts dollar for dollar. $352.000 was the result! The names of those who's contributions made the dream come true appear on a Donor Wall in the lobby.
The architect, Trevor Garwood-Jones, decided that the original change rooms of the pool building were sturdy enough to be built upon. The pool itself was filled in and an auditorium placed on top.
DLT members asked for "a creative space" with movable risers and raised seating making multiple configurations for a wide choice of set designs.
Friday, May 23, 1980 was the Great Day! The then Minister of Culture and Recreation of Ontario, Reuben Baetz, officially opened the Garstin Centre For The Arts, after which he and the first audience in the new building sat down to enjoy Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife. Almost 200 plays have now been performed by the Dundas Little Theatre!