Theaters put locals in the spotlight
Nestled on the banks of the Guadalupe River lies a treasure trove of local artistic talent. Here, the Point Theatre at the Hill Country Arts Foundation has, for over the past 60 years, been where hundreds of people have lived out their dreams of treading the boards.
The Point, as it is known to locals, occupies two performance spaces: the 500-seat Smith-Ritch Point Theatre–the oldest continuously running outdoor theater in Texas–and the Elizabeth Huth-Coates Theatre– an indoor, 100-seat, black box space. The Point operates year-round, staging a wide array of community productions — largely comedies and musicals.
“We are a true community theater, so we have nurses, teachers, lawyers,” says Sarah Derousseau, HCAF executive director. “People come for that often. They’re coming to see the people they know.”
The “community” aspect of community theater isn’t just a buzzword at The Point. It’s a commitment. There are families who have been involved in productions for generations. “We have a director of an upcoming show who was out here in her crib,” Derousseau says. “Now, she and her husband do shows together. They actually met in a show. We were doing ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ in 2011, and it was a huge hit. Apparently, that show results in a lot of marriages. There are really romantic songs!”
Derousseau is very familiar herself with the allure of The Point. She arrived as an intern in 2000 with the intention of staying only for a year. “But I actually fell in love with this place,” she says. “I love the sense of community. I’ve done educational, community, and had a taste of professional theater, and I love working with people from the community. This is where they come to have fun. This is what I see in this place — you walk in, and you feel welcome here.”
The Point’s website, hcaf.com, offers a wealth of information on everything from upcoming performances to audition dates, schedules for classes and workshops, and more.
Derousseau says a dependable broadband connection plays a vital role in keeping The Point connected, not only to its actors and crew members but also to the community as a whole. “The internet is really where most people get their information now,” Derousseau says.
“People look at Facebook for information. They look for news and for what’s coming up. So, being able to create an event and invite people and just broadcast it to as many people as possible on top of being able to boost your ad and get it to people who don’t know you exist — it’s crucial. I don’t even know how we got information out before.”
MORE TO EXPLORE
The Hill Country Arts Foundation’s 13-acre site in Ingram is also home to the Duncan-McAshan Visual Arts Center, which includes a gallery displaying the work of local artists, along with a ceramics studio and Hill Country Atelier, a mentorship program in which students hone their skills in traditional realism. The facility also houses Stonehenge II, a replica of the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, and is the home of the annual Texas Arts & Crafts Fair. For more information, visit hcaf.com or call 830-367-5121.