The History of CVLT
From humble beginnings...
The theater has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1930. In that year, Chagrin Falls was a sleepy little town with little in the way of culture. Alfred Hill, owner of a short-lived newspaper in the Valley, ran an article in his paper suggesting that interested residents meet and form a local group of players.
The idea caught on, and in November 1930 the Valley Players celebrated their inaugural season with a series of three one-act plays staged in the Federated Church gym. So successful was the first production that 50 more people joined the Players, and plans were laid for a second season.
The Players opened their second season on the upper floor of the Old Town Hall, which was to be their home until a fire destroyed the second story in 1943. For the next several years the Players used makeshift accommodations in schools and other buildings.
A new home...
In the fall of 1948, following two fundraising drives, construction was begun on the present Little Theatre building on River Street. Architect Frank Draz, who also designed the Cleveland Play House and Karamu Theater, drew the final plans for the theater.
The new facility opened in November 1949 with the world premiere of How's Your Hooper, by Everett Rhodes Castle of Cleveland heights. Going to the theatre became the social thing to do in the Valley.
The theater thrived and rapidly expanded its offerings to include a youth theater group and a ballet school. For many years the theater actors and audiences were limited to Valley residents only. By the late 1960s, as television and movies drew people away from live theater, the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre decided to open its doors to the wider community.
Chagrin Valley Little Theatre in the 21st Century
Today, audiences at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre can enjoy first-class entertainment by buying tickets online, and arrive to take in shows produced with modern lighting, sound, and high quality scenic design, while sitting in a comfortable, temperature controlled house. Before and after the show they meet and mingle in an welcoming lobby and enjoy refreshments, including beer and wine, during intermission in the charming River Room upstairs (modernized in the 1980s under the engineering and design of CVLT director and supporter Don Edelman). A true community theater, Chagrin Valley Little Theatre is recognized throughout the region as a venue for high quality productions that showcase the talents of area actors and delight thousands of theater lovers each season.