In the summer of 1980, a few Mt. Vernon residents who “just loved having fun on stage” produced Oklahoma in the old Armstrong Theatre on the Cornell College campus. One of the organizers took out a $500 personal loan from the Mt. Vernon Bank to pay for expenses. Tickets were sold to a standing-room-only crowd (even in August, with no air conditioning) and enough money was left over to pay back the loan and put on another show the next year.
Armstrong Theatre was the home of community theatre summer musicals until the Mt. Vernon school district auditorium was built in 1990. Dinner theatre shows were soon added in the spring, with Cornell students acting alongside community members in the college Commons and later at Gwen’s Restaurant in Lisbon.
In 2002, the name of the theatre was officially changed to Mt. Vernon Lisbon Community Theatre. A fall children’s production was added to the season in 2008.
The group received official 501(c)3 non-profit status in 2014 and now calls the Uptown Theatre in the First Street Community Center (the old Mt. Vernon High School) its home. Although the details of the organization have changed, MVLCT has remained true to its original mission of welcoming volunteers who just love having fun on stage.