Founded in 1957 , Theatre Southwest has always maintained a strong reputation for delivering quality theatre. It is our goal that every artist leaves each production with some added knowledge, insight, or fine tuning of his talent. This reputation enables Theatre Southwest to attract artists of quality.
Theatre Southwest was born when Marie and Les Pearsall held a summer carnival in their backyard to raise money for a Houston theatre. They had met as students at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and shared a love of theatre. Marie remained the backbone of the theatre until her death in 1988. Marie and Les's daughter, Mimi Holloway, inherited their love of theatre, and is our present Artistic Director.
The original name of Theatre Southwest was Bellaire Theatre Guild. The first show was performed at the Bellaire Community House, which the theatre rented on a nightly basis. In its earlier years, the target audience was mostly Southwest Houston, and most participants lived close by. As the quality of the work done at the theatre became known, it naturally branched out.
For many years now, Theatre Southwest has drawn audiences and artists from all of Houston's surrounding areas. After the initial period of renting others' facilities, we have enjoyed having our own place. There have been several moves. Our first theatre was located on Times Boulevard in the Village. Unfortunately, due to restrictions by the Fire Department, we had to leave that location. We moved to Wilcrest off of Bellaire Boulevard, then to Gessner near Westpark, and finally to our present location on Clarkcrest, which is between Westheimer and Richmond off of Fondren.
Theatre Southwest remains and thrives. It has gone from a three-play season to a season that includes six subscription plays, the Festival of Originals, a Reader's Theatre, and monthly workshops. We have had monthly meetings and workshops the third Wednesday of every month for 51 years. During all the changes, there has been continuity with audiences and artists. There also has been a non-ending flow of new participants, increased audiences, and growing diversity. The original by-laws Marie and Les devised are still in operation. Although the by-laws have been revised and amended, they continue to work.