Mainstage Shows: $10 General; $8 Students, Seniors, & Active Military
Musicals: $15 General; $10 Students, Seniors, & Active Military
Youth Theatre: $7 Adults, $5 Children under 12
Plays nearly every month, special events throughout the year.
Call to make a reservation and pay at the door. When a show is well attended those with reservations will get seats but those without may not see be able to see the show.
Open auditions are held throughout the year. Watch this site or contact BCT directly for more information.
The object of the corporation [BCT] shall be to organize and establish a permanent theatre for the purpose of the study and production of drama; to provide an opportunity for people of the community to produce plays for their recreation and education without financial gain; to produce a series of plays annually for the cultural enrichment of the community.
Members of the corporation shall be persons who purchase a season ticket. Season ticket holders shall be members for the season only. Membership may be renewed each season with the purchase of a season ticket.
Bakersfield Community Theatre History
Bakersfield Community Theatre was founded in May of 1927. Prior to this date, community theatre productions were frequently produced in Bakersfield by various clubs such as the Bakersfield Woman's Club, the Elks, DeMolay, and the Plymouth Guild.
In November of 1926, Gilmore Brown, of the Pasadena Community Playhouse, gave a speech before the Bakersfield Woman's Club outlining ideas for organizing a community theatre. He advised "Sincere workers and promising talent will be found in unexpected places if the proposition is presented as a real community project." Mr. Brown's words inspired an awaking consciousness of the possibility of such work in Bakersfield.
In early May of 1927, a group of women met one night at the Woman's Club building. They proceeded to found a community theatre. Using telephones and the newspaper, they announced a public meeting at the clubhouse for a few days later. More than 40 people attended the meeting on May 16, 1927. Ten days later the founders had finished writing the constitution and bylaws. They adopted the name Bakersfield Community Theatre. Another public meeting was called on May 31 at the courthouse to elect a president, board members, and officers. By the end of the evening the new community theatre was underway. The total time to found the theatre: a little over two weeks.
On October 31, 1927 the first BCT production was presented. The First Year by Frank Craven performed at Bakersfield High School's auditorium before an audience of more than 400 people. Alma Campbell directed the production and treated the cast and crew to a triumphal buffet supper after the performance. The November 1, 1927 edition of The Bakersfield Californian contained the first review for a Bakersfield Community Theatre production.
The theatre did not have a playhouse to call home between 1927 and 1961, so productions were presented in auditoriums at Washington Junior High School (which is now the administration building for Bakersfield City School District), Standard Junior High School, Golden State Junior High School (now the Blair Learning Center), and the old auditorium at Bakersfield High School.
In April of 1961 Bakersfield Community Theatre opened a new playhouse with a production of For the Love of Maggie, written by Barbara Gardener and Ann Agabashian (both of Bakersfield) and directed by Howard Miller. The playhouse (located at 2400 South Chester Avenue) has been the location for all productions presented since April of 1961 with the exception of two presented at the Bakersfield College Indoor Theatre in 1968 and 1983.
In the summer of 1976, remodeling of the playhouse began under the supervision of Roger Benischek. The design to give the theatre a new look was drafted by Joseph Licastro. The first remodeling was the interior of the auditorium. The ticket office was revamped to include an office, ticket counter, and a spacious lounge. The front of the theatre was given a complete face-lift in the summer of 1980 including a brick patio, landscaping, a lawn with a high stucco wall, a ramp and deck overlooking the patio and a marquee. The most recent remodeling was done in the summer of 1983 when the auditorium seats were replaced.
Bakersfield Community Theatre celebrated the opening of it's 75th season on September 7, 2001 with a special Angel Night dinner and a performance of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath directed by Porter Jamison. Mayor Harvey Hall made a proclamation at the September 5 City Council Meeting declaring September 7 "Bakersfield Community Theatre Day" and Supervisor Pete Parra made a proclamation on behalf of Kern County during the Angel Night festivities before the season pass holders as well as numerous community leaders and dignitaries.
The Bakersfield Community Theatre continues to present five main productions (as well as an annual one act festival and numerous youth theatre shows) each theatre season. Having staged seasons uninterrupted since 1927, Bakersfield Community Theatre holds special recognition as The Oldest Continuing Community Theatre in California.