Amil Tellers of Dramatics - A Short History
Memory Wilson & Christie Thomas
The history of Amil Tellers of Dramatics starts in 1932 when 12 people met to form a club for people interested in theatre. The name comes from “Amil” which is Lima spelled backwards and “Teller” - one who tells a story.
The first business meeting was held on January 4, 1933 in the basement of the old Lima library. On February 1 of that year, a charter was adopted and the first production was scheduled. Plays were given whenever they could get a place, people and money to put one on. Some of the first productions were held in the public library basement, various churches, South High School and the Recreation Center. In the mid 1930's, they also did radio dramas on WBLY in Lima and WOWO in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
In February 1939, the group was given use of a carriage house off Lakewood Avenue. They could use it if they didn’t damage it. This became known as Stable Gables and was close to Faurot Park. Audio equipment was brought in for each show and there was no heat except for a pot-bellied stove and fireplace. A stage was built and stalls were used for dressing rooms. The tack room became the green room where they served coffee and cookies at intermission. Tickets were 25 cents and there were 55 - 60 seats. Plays were presented here from 1939 - 1945 when the property was sold.
From 1945-1958, they were roving players and presented their plays in various locations such as Central High School, The Crystal Room at the Argonne Hotel, the American Legion Hall and the Temple.
In 1958, Homer Reeder provided land to build the current theatre. He originally loaned the group $100,000 which was used to build the box office area, auditorium and stage. The 1958-59 season was so successful, that he provided another loan to add the scene shop, green room, props and costume rooms and make-up area. This loan was paid off in 1966. October 23, 1958 marked the opening of the melodrama The Drunkard, the first production at the Encore Theatre.