A Brief History
Unity Theatre was co-founded in 1995 by sisters Teresa Beckers and Gretchen Jones. The same year it was incorporated as a non-profit organization, and began planning productions to secure community interest and raise financial support.
The first home of Unity Theatre was the former Brenham National Bank lobby at 100 South Park Street. The nearby Santa Fe Freight Depot was restored in May of 1996 to serve as a box office, storage for costumes and sets, and work areas.
The company’s first Main Stage show, Talley’s Folly, opened on February 9, 1996. As additional performances were offered, audiences grew.
Unity’s third and fourth seasons brought many new subscribers and increasing numbers of professional actors and designers. By the spring of 1999, Unity Theatre had become an important and well-respected regional theatre.
In its fifth season, LeRoy & Lucile Melcher bestowed Unity Theatre with a gift of one hundred thousand dollars. This generous donation inspired other contributions from community members and served as a catalyst for growth and expansion.
In the summer of 2000, the Board of Trustees raised private funds to purchase a historic building a few blocks from the original theatre. Built in 1906, the structure was a 23,000 square-foot warehouse that had been home to Schleider Furniture and Brenham Wholesale Grocery for many years. Renovation of the building took almost a year, with the help of many dedicated community volunteers and donors.
The new Unity Theatre, located at 300 Church Street, opened on New Year’s Eve, 2001, with a grand masquerade party. Today, it proudly stands as a reminder of the city’s past, and provides a valuable asset to the community.
Now in its twentieth season, and under the helm of Executive Artistic Director Kate Revnell-Smith, Unity Theatre attracts audiences and artists from Houston, Austin and beyond.
Unity Theatre has a solid reputation as a dependable business and a proud community institution. With its growing attendance and high artistic standing, Unity can surely look forward to a secure and promising future.