Theatre Group Founding
On February 24th, 1935 a number of citizens of Kitchener and Waterloo came together at the YMCA at the corner of Queen St. and Weber St. in downtown Kitchener to discuss the formation of a community theatre group.
The meeting was organized by Fred L. Dreger, a young lawyer and recent graduate of Toronto’s Osgoode Hall, and by the end of the evening he had been elected as the first president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre.
The group’s first production was mounted on November 29th of that year. The venue was the auditorium for the Kitchener Collegiate Institute, which would serve as the principal host for KWLT’s productions for decades to come.
At its beginning KWLT was part of a larger community theatre movement within Ontario; locally we’re of an age with Guelph Little Theatre and a bit younger than Galt Little Theatre (now the Cambridge Community Players). All of these organizations quickly joined the Western Ontario Drama League, an umbrella group founded in 1932 to support the development of amateur theatre in this part of the province. One of their main activities is mounting an annual theatre festival, with entrants chosen from the member groups’ productions; KWLT’s first entry was Eugene O’Neill’s “Ile” and played in the 1937 WODL festival in Galt. The following year saw KWLT’s first award at the WODL festival, with “Elizabeth the Queen” taking the Meredith Thophy for Most Improvement.