Playhouse 2000 History

Doug and Susan BalentinePlayhouse 2000 Inc. was established in the fall of 1998 by the husband and wife team of the Douglas and Susan Balentine. They were joined by well-known local graphic artist and scenic designer, Linda Messina. Susan was previously Theatre Director and Douglas, Technical and Musical Director at the Hill Country Arts Foundation’s Point Theatre from 1990 to 1996. Between 1996 and 1998 they served as Co-Directors of Performing Arts at the Hill Country Youth Ranch’s Meadows Fine Arts Center.

The Balentines had a combined 60 years of teaching, directing, and management experience in the performing arts. The late Douglas Balentine, who served as Executive Director for Playhouse 2000 Inc., wrote and scored more than 50 original productions.  Susan holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre and Education from Trinity University. As an outgrowth of their extensive theatre experience and knowledge, and their work with “at-risk” children and youth, the Balentines observed how live theatre could be a powerful teaching tool in reaching into the life of a young person (at risk or not) who is “turned off” by other means of well-intentioned instructional communications from adult leaders.

The Balentines strongly believed that live theatre can combine the spoken word with physical actions on stage in such a way as to formulate a positive effective and memorable message to a young and impressionable theatre goer. Also, the Balentines observed that carefully guided acting classes and a young person’s participation in actual stage productions will work marvels with respect to lifting that young person’s self-esteem and confidence. Finally, the performing arts create a notable outlet in a young person’s life for expressing feelings and emotions gathered from negative experiences from the past. Such expression, most counselors agree, is integral in the healing of wounds created by a history of family abuse or neglect. The above experiences coupled with the significant needs in the community for year-round children’s theatre, therapeutic theatre for “at-risk” young people, a year-round theatre education center for youth and others, and an indoor, year-round, flexible performing arts facility, were the components which led the Balentines to establish Playhouse 2000 Inc.

Playhouse 2000 Inc. has also has a 12 person Board of Directors consisting of individuals who have extensive business and performing arts backgrounds.  In its short history, Playhouse 2000 Inc. has played a significant role in the Kerrville community of (1) increasing and enhancing interest in the performing arts in our community (2) addressing the need to involve children and youth through the performing arts vehicle.