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FROM TULSA LITTLE THEATRE TO AVONDALE THE HISTORY OF THE OLDEST THEATRE IN TULSA

By PITT Member Rhonda Lunsford

The unassuming brick building sitting quietly at 15th Street and Delaware is steeped in a rich history that belies its plain art nouveau design. Currently called the AVONDALE STUDIO, this theatre now plays host to musicians, offering recording facilities and seating for intimate concerts.

But somewhere between it's construction in 1930, multiple name changes, and the last sale to a kindly gentleman names Smitty, spirits have taken up residence. Spirits who make themselves known to anyone willing to spend time alone there.

Tulsa Little Theatre was born in 1922 when the dream project of two forward thinking women, began offering productions in large canvas tents, movie theaters and even the American Legion. It wasn't until 1929 that they moved into permanent quarters at 15th and Delaware. The yellow brick building is one of Tulsa's oldest commercial structures and boasts an original stage. Proving that Tulsa would indeed support the arts, hundreds of plays were performed on that stage, multiple directors came and went, and throughout the next 75 years at least three spirits are purported to have become entrenched there.

In 1965, a fire that broke out at 4 am, destroyed all the costumes, props and stage furniture. Another fire in 1966 decimated the upper floors. As the needs of the theatrical community outgrew the small theatre, Tulsa Little Theatre relocated to its present location at the Performing Arts Center downtown. In 1990 the aging building was sold and over the next twelve years was utilized as a nightclub, a karmic church, and recently, the Avondale Studio. The spirits have remained as the building's oldest fans!