In 1955, Lawrence Hager had been discussing with family and friends the desire for a ‘Little Theatre’ in Owensboro, a place where aspiring thespians and directors could hone and share their talents. In September of that year, Hager, an owner of the local paper, brought together fellow theater enthusiasts Walter Lazenby, an instructor at Kentucky Weslyan College, and Mrs. R. Hal Compton, whose husband was a principal at the Owensboro Wagon Company. That well-connected trio, with their shared vision, sparked the idea that evolved into the “Little Theatre of Owensboro.” The momentum built with preparations for an initial production of The Man Who Came To Dinner under Lazenby’s direction.
With Articles of Incorporation dated November 30, 1955, Theatre Workshop, Inc. sprang into existence just in time for the production’s December 1 debut. There were three acclaimed performances of that first show at Eastern Junior High School (now Estes Elementary School).
Several individual productions followed, and one year later the company announced plans for its first season of plays. The 1956-57 season included Sabrina Fair, The Little Foxes, The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, and even the Menotti opera The Old Maid and the Thief.With limited income and no permanent home, the company disbanded in 1959. But the theatre bug had bitten, and members of the group reunited for a special event in 1967, a stage reading of Antigone for the Owensboro Festival of Arts. Buoyed by the enthusiasm which greeted that performance, the company reformed as Theatre Workshop of Owensboro and Act TWO (as it was known) began presenting plays in a variety of venues. High school auditoriums, theRudd Hotel basement, the National Guard Armory all hosted TWO shows until, with help from the city management, we found a permanent home in the beautiful Trinity Centre in 1973.
Today, TWO operates two historic theatres in downtown Owensboro. We still produce an eclectic season of community theatre, featuring contemporary and classic plays and musicals. We also have a busy schedule of concerts, art exhibits, classes and workshops. Our education program has grown to include frequent youth shows, drama clubs and camps, TWO in the Schools, and more. We continue our mission of serving the community with gratitude for the visionaries and volunteers who have sustained the organization through the years, and with an optimistic eye toward the future.