Early in 1988, long time residents and community activists, George and Betsie Andrews, invited their friend and professional actor, Patrick McCreary, to come entertain at festivities honoring Hutchinson, KS as a newly named "All American City". While visiting, the Andrews introduced Patrick to the community and many of its leaders. They spoke of a need for a "family arts organization". That fall, Mr. McCreary moved to Hutchinson and with $5,000 of his own money started the Hutchinson Children’s Theatre. Early the next year HCT auditioned and produced its first production, the musical OLIVER!, with a cast of eighty two of all ages.
The Hutchinson Children’s Theatre was incorporated as a not for profit, 501c3 organization early in 1989 with a founding board of Elaine Cloyd, George Andrews, and Dr. Robert Rate. Soon the Board was expanded to five, then eight, and currently has a membership of 15 with community minded citizens from throughout the area.
For five years the Children's Theatre performed musicals, comedies, and dramas throughout the year in public facilities.
As the organization grew and began to attract participants and audience from a greater area of south central Kansas, it became known as the Family Children’s Theatre (even though the official incorporated designation is still HCT). The Family Children’s Theatre was established to strengthen the self-worth and poise of each individual and to build bridges that unify the creative energies and resources of all people.
In 1995 the FLAG, a former downtown movie theatre built in 1936, then known as the State Theatre, was purchased and for the first time in its history, the Family Children's Theatre had a home. Soon their season grew to six productions a year in addition to some monthly melodramas. And now the theatre produces seven shows a year. The facility is also available as a rental facility serving other performing artists and businesses throughout the community.
Some unique marketing plans of the FLAG include its "walk of fame", the original "paint your face into history" murals within, and its charity auctions.
In 2006, the FLAG was honored with a Governor's Award of Excellence. A partnership was struck with Hutchinson Community College to host a Summer Performing Arts Academy and there have been programs to foster the writing and the presentation of original plays on the FLAG stage.
The Family/ Children's Theatre and the FLAG continue to welcome all from throughout the region, both as patron, sponsor, and participant, regardless of age, race, socioeconomics, or experience. It continues its commitment to the best of quality, family oriented programming and commitment to community.
In 2015, as the organization began its 27th year, the board of directors updated the name of the organization to Family Community Theatre. After the board reflected on the schedule of shows and activities its sponsors and the people who volunteer their time and talent to make those playes and events come to life, they saw that the theatre serves all ages.
The FCT is a multi-generational community committed to creating quality, family friendly productions. The name Family Community Theatre more accurately communicates who it is as a theatre company today and eliminates any potential confusion for volunteers, actors and audience members.
Even though our shows are aimed for family consumption, we have not shunned the opportunity to provide thought provoking shows, but when we use shows of more adult themes, we are careful that we present them in a way that is in good taste. The content and themes of the shows are carefully judged to meet our goals and purpose.
The Family Community Theatre is a non-profit organization. The approximate monthly cost of maintaining building is $4,000. This past year’s expenditures were $88,500, which is raised by earned income (60%) and grants, donations, and gifts (40%). We rely on grants from the Hutchinson Cultural Activity Fund and various foundations. We depend on the generosity of our patrons through their donations, and we encourage underwriting of our shows. We have a small, but dedicated base of season ticket holders. Of course, we utilize the receipts of our shows.
We own the FLAG Theatre. The building served as an old movie house that was built in 1936. It was purchased in 1993 and renovated for live theatre. It seats 300 - 265 on the ground floor and 45 in the balcony.
Since we have no paid employee at this time, the jobs in the theatre are done by volunteers. If a task requires a skilled specialty, the job is hired for the show.
The Family Community Theatre, as it is known today because it is a regional, rather than a city, is a non-profit educational/arts organization. It was established to strengthen the self-worth and poise of each individual and to build bridges that unify the creative energies and resources of all people. Our Mission is:
We are a non-profit community organization that promotes and inspires personal and family growth by providing educational and creative opportunities through quality theatrical arts.
A Board of Directors governs the Family Children’s Theatre. There are 15 members on the Board representing a broad spectrum of the community. The Board has a President, Vice-president, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Board of Directors meets monthly.
The Family Community Theatre produces eight shows a year. Seven of the eight are staged in the FLAG Theatre while the major musical is staged at the city’s Memorial Hall. In the 31 years that we have been operating, 207 mainstage shows have been presented.