Circle Theatre History
Circle Theatre is an established regional theatre in Fort Worth dedicated to presenting professional, innovative theatre in an intimate space. Founded in 1981 by Rose Pearson and Bill Newberry, Circle has premiered over 130 plays to the city in its 36 seasons.
The Theatre’s name is derived from its original location on Bluebonnet Circle. An interim move to Fort Worth’s historic Southside took place in 1987. Seven years later, Circle renovated and moved into its present home, the basement space of the Sanger Building in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square entertainment district. Patrons enjoy the Theatre’s cozy atmosphere and often comment on the added benefit of being close to the action on the 125-seat thrust stage.
As a Small Professional Theatre (SPT) with Actors’ Equity, Circle Theatre is committed to providing employment for artists pursuing careers in Texas. The Theatre also extends opportunities for actors and stage managers to join the Equity Membership Candidacy Program. Circle serves as an insured umbrella paymaster for other theatres in Texas that employ Equity actors as guest artists.
A year-round main stage season of five plays with an average run of 20 performances each, Circle’s shows are often regional premieres or second or third staging’s of new scripts. The Theatre co-sponsors an annual High School Playwriting Project, which ends with a public presentation by experienced actors reading finalist scripts by area students.
Circle Theatre’s plays and performances have received many accolades over the years and been included on multiple Best of Year lists. “Circle Theatre, had the best batting average on the stage. Circle was the most-cited theater in my Top Ten lists each year from the Aughts, with 12 shows mentioned” wrote Mark Lowry, critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and TheatreJones.com.
In August of 2016, Circle suffered the loss of Rose Pearson, Co-founder and Executive Director. She worked tirelessly to ensure the Theatre’s future. Upon her passing, Bill Newberry, her husband and Circle Co-founder, became the Executive Director and retired in 2017. Tim Long, who has been a part of the theatre for the past 18 years, is the new Executive Director. Circle Theatre is proudly carrying on Rose’s legacy by playing an active role in today’s regional theatre movement, here in the city of Fort Worth!