Beginning of ourJourney
In 1959, Bing Limbaugh ,a former Sikeston student attending college in Memphis and an active participant of the Memphis Little Theatre; met with a group of Sikeston residents interested in starting a theatre group in Sikeston. The group met , elected a board of board of directors, filed formal incorporation papers, selected the first season selection of plays and Sikeston Little Theatre, aka SLT was born. In October of 1959, Blithe Spirit was performed at the High School Gym. As the town grew, new schools were built but SLT continued to perform there for 13 years, under the names of Jr High School Gym and Middle School Auditorium. It is now part of the YMCA.
Left, Blithe Spirit 1959. Right, Old Sikeston High School
Memphis Little Theatre
In 1961, SLT performed Witness for the Prosecution at the County Courthouse in Benton, MO.
In 1964, SLT scheduled it's first Summer Workshop providing instruction in acting, directing, make-up, costumes and management with presentations by Southeast Misouri State faculty members.
In 1965, SLT performed its first musical, Sound of Music, directed by Hope Terrell and was the beginning of many more. The play was taken on the road to Kennett MO and was well received. Hopes daughter Lisa directed the first childrens musical, Cinderella in 1982. South Pacific was the third musical and was taken on the road twice, once to Kennett and then to Caruthersville MO.
In 1971, stage productions moved from the gym when SLT helped the city to purchase the old First Baptist Church on Southkingshighway. With added Grant money the building became the Sikeston Activity Center. Plans were drawn up for remodel and repairs. SLT remained there for approximately 10 years.
In 1981, with a bequest from Margaret Harris, the activity center was sold. The city and SLT obtained the old Malone Theatre for use as a cultural center. SLT was to manage the building and it was renamed the Chaney-Harris Cultural Center. SLT completed over $38,000 in renovations and the first stage production was Alice in Wonderland in 1983. The last stage production unknown to SLT, would be A Streetcar Named Desire.
In May of 1987, fire destroyed the Chaney-Harris Cultural Center and all contents.