Little Traverse Civic Theatre was born in 1945 when a group of ambitious, talented volunteers organized an acting troupe under the name Petoskey Little Theatre. In January 1946, they presented their first play, You Can’t Take it With You. The group went on to present an average of three plays a year. In the spring of 1960, the group began a two-year reorganization; no plays were produced, but new members were recruited and plans were developed for the future. At this time, the name was changed to Little Traverse Civic Theatre to better represent the area the group served. The new name was then chartered as a Michigan non-profit corporation and later as a federal 501(c)3 corporation. Productions began again in 1962 with The Mouse that Roared.
In 1967, LTCT had grown to the point where they could produce their first full-scale musical, Guys and Dolls. It was another musical, Fiddler on the Roof, presented in 1973, which began the group’s ascent to its present successful position. This production was so well received by the community that for the first time LTCT had a bank account healthy enough to allow the group to produce equally ambitious shows without having to constantly borrow money to do so. LTCT has remained in a healthy financial position and retained and grown their audience since that time, currently producing four shows each season.
These achievements were possible despite the lack of a permanent home. The group persevered all those years, rehearsing and performing in various area schools; Stafford’s Bay View Inn; Voorhies Hall in Bay View; and a converted movie theatre in Harbor Springs. Finally, in May of 1981, LTCT became a tenant of the newly opened Crooked Tree Arts Center, the former Methodist Church of Petoskey. The first audience event presented in the Arts Center was LTCT’s production of Oliver, which played to full houses in the pews of the converted sanctuary. LTCT’s symbiotic relationship with the Crooked Tree Arts Center continues today with a lease that runs until 2015. In 1989, the LTCT Board of Directors decided that it was time to stop moving lumber, tools, and supplies from one set construction and storage location to another. A building suitable for storage of flats, costumes, props, and other assorted theatrical necessities, as well as large enough for construction, was purchased in 1989.