The Story of The Actors Conservatory Theatre
Joe Ann Brooks, also known as "Miss Joe Ann," founded The Flower Mound Children's Theatre in 1999, with the goal of giving all interested children in the area the opportunity to learn about and experience the dramatic arts. The mission was simple: to introduce children to history, classic novels, and classic authors, to grow their knowledge of the world, and to instill in them a love of reading, all through the powerful medium of the performing and visual arts.
With no indoor venues available at the time, the first productions were performed outside in the Samuel Lusk Amphitheatre in Flower Mound, Texas. Sound and lighting were difficult, the summer weather did not always cooperate, and the dirt and splinters were sometimes too much to bear. But the group persevered and continued to grow between 2000-2003, performing at Trietsch United Methodist Church, the Flower Mound Public Library, and the LaShaw Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Parker Square.
In 2004, the Flower Mound Children's Theatre moved to Lewisville, merging with the Flower Mound Community Theatre and becoming The Actors Conservatory Theatre. Housed at First United Methodist Church of Lewisville from 2004-2006, The ACT moved in 2007 to its first permanent and dedicated space, The Crawford Center for the Arts, located on Edmonds Lane.
Materials were donated and teams of volunteers came together to transform this empty office space into a performance-ready theatre. With the next show already advertised, they did this in a very short period of time, working long hours to clean and build spotlight stands, a tech booth, and even the stage. The ACT would remain at this Edmonds Lane location until October of 2015, growing with the help of a dedicated volunteer base, the support of the community, a grant from the City of Lewisville, and the enthusiastic participation of many children.
In October 2015, The ACT moved again, this time to our current home on Lake Park Road in Lewisville. With two productions within ten days of opening night, our volunteer-driven theatre family came together very quickly once again, to make our dreams possible by cleaning, donating materials, building a stage, and hanging curtains inside our new space, which had previously been a church. Opening night came as scheduled and our children were ready to perform, with full sets, costumes, props, lights, and sound. The "volunteer spirit" and the extraordinary generosity of time and resources given continuously and selflessly by our families had made this possible once again.
The ACT started with an extraordinary idea and a great deal of hard work, creativity, and perseverance. Today, we have earned a reputation as an all-inclusive and educational theatre, giving every child who auditions a role, while keeping our participation fees as minimal as possible. We also provide opportunities for many interested teens and families to work behind the scenes: on backstage crews, in set and props design, in costuming, and in many other areas where an interest is expressed. Throughout our season, we encourage involvement not just through our mainstage musicals and plays, but also through our Academy of the Performing Arts classes, our Actors Conservatory Element (ACE) teen group activities, and in our Spring Break and summer camps. Our wide variety of programming allows all children who are interested in the theatre arts to be a part of our shows, on and off the stage. We are committed to this idea: we believe that all children, regardless of natural ability or personal challenges, should be free to explore theatre and to develop in confidence in an encouraging, wholesome, and supportive environment.
The story of The Actors Conservatory Theatre is still being written, by members who have been with us for years, to the child who is walking through our door for the first time. We are continuing to strive to find new ways in which we can encourage children and their families to learn about and be involved in theatre. Please look into our growing list of programs and opportunities to discover where your family fits. We look forward to meeting you soon!