East Texas Quarterly Magazine Spring 2014 - Page 7

land on the south side of Jasper . The depot was moved through town down the highway and onto its present location on Hwy. 96 S. The property was named the Violett Tonahill Center for the Performing Arts and proudly hosts the Jasper Community Theatre. Over the years “The Depot” has been refurbished, expanded, and a front deck and paved parking lot have been added, but the theatre complex still retains its historic train depot character. Above: From red, White and Tuna. Below: From the February performance of Madcap & Music. The Jasper Community Theatre is a non-profit organization, which is dedicated to providing the local community with quality family entertainment and opportunities to develop talents and perform on stage. JCT has been providing Southeast Texas with quality live performanes for 30 years. Their firstshow, “Arsenic and Old Lace” was performed in 1984 and in the years since, JCT has produced musicals, comedies, dramas, mysteries , children’s plays, and variety talent shows. One of the strengths of JCT is the community itself. JCT has no paid staff, no professional actors, and is operated solely by volunteers from the area. Interested people donate their time and energy doing everything from mowing the lawn, cleaning and maintaining the building, to directing plays and sewing For the first few years of JCT’s existence they produced plays on the stage of Jasper High School cafetorium . In 1987 the Board of Directors purchased the abandoned Santa Fe railroad depot that had served Jasper since the early 1900s, but was no longer in use. They then received a donation by Violett Tonahill of 3 acres of Photo by Jason Dunn 5