If musicals and shows are what interest you, then this is where you need to visit! The Lakewood Theater Company is a well-known and successful artist in the community, and it is at the heart of Lakewood Center for the Arts! In 1952, a group of people living in Lake Oswego decided that their town was incomplete without a theater, so they got together to establish what became known as the Oswego Players. Blithe Spirit was the first play produced by the players, who performed throughout parts of northern Oregon and southern Washington for almost nine years before settling into a permanent location.
In 1961, a fundraising effort resulted in the purchase of a vacant Methodist church on Greenwood Road. The organization, then known as Lake Oswego Community Theatre, staged more than 110 shows at the theater before it outgrew the space. By that time, the I00-seat theatre was always sold out, and no additional classroom or rehearsal area was available.
The Lakewood School became available in 1979, and an advisory task force determined that acquiring the facility would encourage individuals to learn, teach, exhibit, and, most importantly, participate in the arts. With this objective in mind, the Lakewood Center for the Arts was established as a nonprofit organization.
The initial $1 million was used to acquire and restore the institution as well as begin educational programs. The aim was met in 1987, and the last payment was made to the school board. Individuals, businesses, corporations, foundations, and civic groups gave money. City, state, or federal cash did not contribute a penny to the cause.
In the fall of 1990, the theatre company changed its name from Lake Oswego Community Theatre to Lakewood Theatre Company. The name change was instituted to more closely identify the theatre with the programs at the Center and its mission of providing high-quality entertainment and education.
Lakewood’s $3 million stage house project was completed in November 2003. The new theater has 220 seats that are no farther than 35 feet from the stage, a new stage house with fly lofts, traps, and a new hearing-assisted sound system. The average 85-90 percent sellout rate for theatre programs is now mostly attributable to pre-sold subscription packages.
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