The mission of this organization is to stimulate an interest in drama by the presentation of plays and musicals and to develop and apply the arts necessary to such presentations. This will be done by utilizing the talents and abilities of interested persons in Brownsville and the neighboring communities engaging audiences in the artistic process, and sparking the imaginations of young children, thus developing the next generation of stage actors.
Our beloved home to productions since 1964, the theatre is proudly named for Mrs. Camille Sams Lightner. She was born Camille Sams in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1913, and grew up in New Rochelle, New York. She graduated in 1934 from Connecticut College for Women. Camille came to the Valley with her parents to spend the Christmas of 1933 with her sister and brother-in-law, Gladys and Dean Porter. During the holidays, Camille met and fell in love with a young produce man, Larry Lightner. They were married following her graduation and moved to Texas to become Texans. In time, she had two fine sons, Earl Sams Lightner and Larry Lightner, Jr.
Theatre was among Camille's many great loves. She was a regular performer with the annual Junior Service League Follies, and had a great voice for the stage. It was a huge loss for the community when Camille passed in December 1962. When Camille's sister, Gladys Porter, asked Camille's good friend and fellow performer, Henri DeStefano, what should be built in Camille's memory, Henri replied:
The City of Brownsville provided the land in Dean Porter Park and the Sams Foundation provided a grant to fund the construction of the facility which opened its doors in January 1964. With a drive to stimulate interest in theatre through production of stage performances and the development and application of the arts necessary to such productions, utilizing the talents and abilities of those in the Brownsville community and neighboring communities with a passion for the art, thereby engaging audiences in the artistic process, sparking the imaginations of young children and developing the next generation of stage actors, we are proud to be carrying on Camille's dream and legacy of having community theatre in Brownsville. Camille's legacy remains our primary mission and guides us in all we do.
Dr. David de la Llata
Martie DiGregorio, President
Lisa Esteve, Vice-President
Edna De Leon, Treasurer
Sylvia Lester, Secretary
Judy Coyne, Member at Large
Dr. Philip G. Samponaro, Jr.
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