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“THE BELLE OF AMHERST”: Pictured is Ronda Lewis as Emily Dickinson; Photo by Ponic Photography

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A Little Theatre with a Big Legacy

The Albuquerque Little Theatre has a Storied Past, a Robust Present, and a Bright Future

In 1930, the now iconic Albuquerque Little Theatre (ALT) became the first theatre to host plays in the city. Performances were staged at various locations until the current venue, just south of Old Town Albuquerque, was built in 1936 with funding from one of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs. The building was designed by the renowned southwest architect John Gaw Meem.

Henry Avery, ALT’s Executive and Artistic Director, explained, “There was no theatre venue at all in Albuquerque at the time. A group of citizens, led by Irene Fisher who was a local society reporter, got together and formed the company. ALT has continued this community involvement tradition into today with a mostly volunteer cast and crew.” 

Kathryn Kennedy O’Connor, who had experience with Broadway productions and had moved to Albuquerque for health reasons, was hired as the first theatre director. One of the earliest members of the theatre group was Vivian Vance who played Ethel Mertz on the “I Love Lucy” show. Vance’s EMMY award is displayed in the lobby at ALT.

Henry told us, “Vivian Vance was in the very first show in 1930. She both acted and was also involved in production. Her EMMY was the first one ever given for Best Supporting Actress.” 

Henry said, “ We’re a true community theatre. We feature a revolving exhibit of local artists. We also have workshops for children and seniors. When we did a production of ‘Grease’ we had so many people audition that we were able to have two casts that performed on alternating weekends.”

The Albuquerque Little Theatre’s next show is “Kinky Boots,” starting on August 26. They are located at 224 San Pasquale SW. Box office hours are 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Their phone number is 505.242.4750 or for more information. 

Every year, The Albuquerque Little Theatre hands out The Vivian Awards to honor outstanding performances of actors and the efforts of the production crew. The awards are named after the late Vivian Vance who started her acting career at the theatre. 

  • “GREASE”: Pictured From Left Antonio Lovato, Blake Moss, Matthew Nufer, Devin Raymond and Paul Dore; Photo by Ponic Photography
  • “A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED”: Pictured From Left Ceptembre Anthony-Tedesco, Jessica Osbourne, Chad Brummett and Samantha Blauwkamp; Photo by Ponic Photography
  • “BARRYMORE”: Pictured is Mario Cabrerra as John Barrymore; Photo by Ponic Photography
  • “THE ODD COUPLE”: Pictured From Left Micah Linford as Oscar Madison and Matt Heath as Felix Ungar; Photo by Ponic Photography
  • “A CHRISTMAS CAROL”: Pictured From Left Nicolas Lamer, Dani Freeze and Gabriel Mora as The Clowns and Brian Clifton as Scrooge; Photo by Ponic Photography
  • “THE BELLE OF AMHERST”: Pictured is Ronda Lewis as Emily Dickinson; Photo by Ponic Photography