The mission of Town Hall Theatre is to serve the diverse audiences of Lamorinda and the Bay Area by presenting theatre of the highest professional standards that embodies a spirit of intelligent exploration of the human experience. We believe in nurturing new theatre artists through our arts education programs, and in bringing artists, audiences and community together in fellowship.
HISTORY OF TOWN HALL THEATRE
Established in 1944 as the Dramateurs and reorganized in 1992 as the Town Hall Theatre Company of Lafayette, we are the oldest continuously active theatre company in Contra Costa County.
The land and the labor to build the historic Town Hall building were donated by the community. Construction was completed in May 1914 on land donated by Frank and Rosa Ghiglione who also contributed $200 towards building costs. The first event held in the building was a Grand Ball, and subsequent Town Hall events were so well attended that the Sacramento Northern Railroad provided a special train from Oakland to West Lafayette. Often the festivities would begin around 9pm, with dinner at midnight, followed by dancing and more partying. One train reportedly left the Lafayette station at 5:30am.
Lafayette Grammar School used Town Hall as an auditorium until its own auditorium was built in 1944. Town Hall also hosted community meetings, church services, movies, and basketball. The Lafayette Playshop began holding theatrical performances at Town Hall in 1941. The Playshop’s opening night was December 3, 1941, just before the United States entered World War II - and so, for the next four years, Town Hall was used in the war effort.
In 1947 the Straw Hat Revue rented the building, and in 1955, the Dramateurs began holding productions there. A local group called the "Laf-Frantics" performed there from 1956 to 1986. The Dramateurs reorganized as Town Hall Theatre Company in 1992, and the company has since delighted audiences of all ages and won numerous local Shellie Awards for its work.
Live theatre continues in Lamorinda because of the generosity of its citizens, and the existence and use of the Town Hall building for this purpose over so many decades is a testament to this spirit.