Hope and Jim Terrell
A very strong duo, hard working, dedicated theatre family, Hope and Jim Terrell were strong advocates of getting a home for Sikeston Little Theatre. They were involved in all aspects of the theatre. From acting, directing, sets, lighting and sound to fund raising, publicity, they did it all and did it where they had to. The old Baptist Church, Activity Center, homes, Doctor offices, old Malone Theatre, an old store front at the old mall to the new home of SLT. With a couple overhead lights, one portable spot light named Old Blue, hand held mics and no special effects, they brought in crowds of over 300 people at a time. Not much money was spent on the performances, creativity took over. Costumes were made with what was available, but the talent and perseverance of the crew and actors involved made up for it
James “Jim” Terrell (1929-2012) was born October 11, 1929, in Sikeston, Missouri, to Willard and Gladys (Colley) Terrell. He served in the military, including six years in the U.S. Army during the Okinawa Occupation, and retired as Sergeant-Illinois Military District Navy Pier Chicago. He worked 20 years for the city of Sikeston, notably as a firefighter, retiring at the rank of Captain in 1991, and served for six years on the City Council. During the 1960s, Jim was also a leader in several community organizations. He helped to organize the Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation (DAEOC,) supervised 17 Americorps VISTA volunteers, and wrote the pilot project for what is now the Headstart program. He was active as well in the Sikeston Little Theater working beside Hope in most productions doing whatever was needed. he participated for more than 50 years, both as a performer and as part of the stage crew, working to build numerous sets. He and Hope raised their family as a theatre family and all of them grew up involved as well. He was one of the many heroes who fought fires at several old SLT locations like old activity center and old Malone Theatre known as Chaney Harris Cultural Center. He was one of three Silver Mask Award winners. On September 4, 1951, he married Hope Edwards; they celebrated 61 years of marriage before Jim passed away on February 11, 2012.
Hope Edwards Terrell (1932-2020) was born February 13, 1932, also in Sikeston, Missouri. She graduated from Sikeston High School in the Class of 1950, where she was head twirler and drum majorette. During her lifetime, she worked as a real estate agent, receiving several awards and serving on the board for the Sikeston Board of Realtors; as a secretary for the Sikeston Housing Authority; for Malone and Hyde, a food wholesaler later purchased by The Fleming Companies; and for Dr. Leo Bruce, a local doctor in Sikeston. Hope’s true passion lay in the performing arts. She was a past president of the Council on the Arts in Sikeston for 13 years, helped to organize and sponsor various arts programs like “Sing Out Sikeston” and the “Accent on Youth” series, and was both a member and officer of the Sikeston Ladies Eagles Auxiliary and the Ladies Elks Auxiliary. In addition, Hope was one of the founding members of the Sikeston Little Theater. Hope directed the first musical for Sikeston Little Theatre, The Sound of Music in 65 and directed it a second time years later. Hopes last performance was in The Giver directed by Cody Smither in October 2019. She passed on not long after on July 30, 2020 at age 88 while listening to The Sound of Music at her daughters home. The Sound of Music was performed again in 2021 and dedicated to her. Hope also loved to do Edith Anne skits with full costume. She performed her skit, for her cast mates, after her last performance in The Giver. The stage at the Theatre was named after Hope Terrell. At one of the entrances a Rock garden was established in honor of Hope. You are encouraged to drop by and take a rock. She directed 14 musicals and performed in many more productions, from You Can’t Take It With You in 1960 to The Giver in 2020, her final performance. She passed on not long after on July 30, 2020 at age 88 while listening to The Sound of Music at her daughters home. .
All told, she was a seminal figure at the theater for more than 60 years.