History of the League of Historic American Theatres

History of the League of Historic American Theatres

Founded in 1976, the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT) is a non-profit organization with the main purpose of sustaining historic theatres across North America for the benefit of their communities and future generations. The charter members of the League started out with the modest, but noble, cause of uniting historic playhouses across the continent.

For over 40 years the League has grown to include members from throughout the historic theatre industry in both The United States and Canada and has become the professional network for theatre owners and operators to connect with others who have faced the unique challenges of historic theatre ownership and operation. Whether they are looking to restore, reopen, maintain or just improve operations; through the League, members have access to peers in theatres of all sizes and stages of renovation & operation, as well as theatre industry professionals whose services range from architectural and design to lighting to stage equipment to ticketing and much more.

The League defines a membership eligible historic theatre as one that is at least 50 years old and includes at least one of the following attributes: is an architecturally significant structure deemed worthy of preservation, has played an important role in the history of American stage and screen, and/or can be used as a performing arts facility. Theatres younger than 50 years old but possessing one or more of these attributes who wish to join are also considered. An official historic marker or designation is not required to join.

Since our founding, the League has grown to over 1,100 users representing 380 historic theatres and organizations ranging in diversity of large and small, rural and urban, nonprofit and for profit. Members include Theatres (Live & Film); our Allies in the theatrical service industries who provide goods, services and expertise to the historic theatre industry; and individual Subscribers whose philanthropic contributions also support historic theatres across the continent.

If you are interested in more information on how the League got its start, read A Historical Synopsis of the League of Historic American Theatres by Judith E. Daykin, Past LHAT Board President.