The Salem Community Theatre, Inc. was started to provide the community of Salem with a full season of live stage performances and to promote the theatrical arts. The Salem Community Theatre, Inc. was founded in 1977 by the late Charles E. Williams and Judy Waugh. At the time live theatre was provided for the public at the Memorial Building. Williams and Waugh, along with several others, decided to hire a professional director, Cathy Verhoff. Their first production was “Godspell” and the performances took place at the Salem High School.
In 1981, the group was able to purchase the old State Theatre building, still owned by Jean Rakestraw, widow of Virgil Rakestraw, who had owned and operated the State Theatre as a movie house opening the movie house on Thanksgiving Day in 1922 featuring the movie “Smilin Through”. Through a generous grant from the Salem Community Foundation and public donations, work began on converting the movie house into a venue for live theatre.In May of that year, the grand opening of the Salem Community Theatre’s new home was marked by a performance of “The Red Dragon”, an original work by Cathy Verhoff.
Since its inception, it has grown steadily in audience size, number of performances offered, and in service to the community.The Salem Community Theatre serves the community in many ways, providing instruction in the theatre arts, live performances, and a number of community outreach programs.
SCT is one of the most successful businesses in the downtown area, bringing business to neighboring restaurants, shops, and promoting a progressive attitude for the future, an appreciation of the past, and an active present.
Board of Trustees
Carrie Utt, President
Dan Haueter, Vice President
Rosemarie Martinez, Secretary
Mary Gray, Treasurer