In the center of Garland, Texas’s downtown, is the non-profit community theater known as Garland Civic Theatre (GCT). GCT has been a mainstay of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex’s performing arts scene for more than 50 years, offering top-notch productions to audiences of all ages and demographics.
Garland Summer Musicals, the organization that would later become GCT, produced annual musical revues for several years after its founding in 1968. The company started staging elaborate musicals and plays in the 1970s, and in 1981 it became known as Garland Civic Theatre. Since then, GCT has created more than 200 performances, spanning everything from traditional plays to modern musicals.
The dedication of GCT to community involvement is one of its distinctive qualities. The theater heavily relies on volunteers, with everyone lending their time and skills to make memorable productions, including actors, directors, stage managers, and technical crew members. For actors and other theater professionals of all ages and skill levels, GCT also has a robust educational program that offers workshops and classes. In order to provide educational and outreach programs that support the arts and encourage creative expression, the theater also collaborates with neighborhood schools and community organizations.
The historic Granville Arts Center, a gorgeously restored art deco structure that formerly housed a movie theater, is home to GCT’s main stage. Large-scale productions can be held in the main stage theater, which has 720 seats and cutting-edge lighting and sound systems. GCT has a black box theater in addition to the main stage, which is used for smaller, more private productions.
The yearly summer musical is one of the GCT season’s highlights. The theater puts on a sizable musical production every summer that draws spectators from all over the Metroplex. “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia!” and “The Little Mermaid,” three recent summer musicals, all received raving reviews from critics and audiences.
GCT, however, isn’t just about big, extravagant musicals. The theater also produces a wide range of plays, from classic pieces by Tennessee Williams and Shakespeare to modern dramas and comedies. “August: Osage County,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and “Steel Magnolias” are recent examples of successful productions. Additionally, GCT produces an annual series of plays for kids that are especially catered to their audience.
The dedication to diversity and inclusivity that GCT has made is one of the things that sets it apart from other community theaters. The theater actively seeks out actors, directors, and other theater professionals from a variety of backgrounds in order to create performances that reflect the diversity of the community it serves. With initiatives like the Sensory-Friendly Theater Initiative, which offers performances catered to people with autism and other sensory sensitivities, GCT has also worked to make the theater accessible to everyone.
The focus on new works that GCT has is another distinctive feature. The theater frequently stages world premieres and other novel works, providing audiences with the chance to watch innovative, captivating productions that haven’t been seen before. The Vapors, a play about the rise and fall of a bathhouse in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and “A Ring in Brooklyn,” a romantic comedy set in the world of competitive ballroom dancing, both recently had their world premieres at GCT.