About - Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts
Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts (left) and Little Bit Used Shop
Theater History & Organization
The history of the present Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts started in 1999 with a building that had sat vacant for almost twelve years and a handful of community benefactors who had a vision to give something back to the community. That group’s mission was to build the community’s character and excellence through the “arts”. Those benefactors then worked to acquire and renovate the property.
So starting in 1999 past Mayor Loren Thompson, Ronald "Ron" Richter, and other concerned Bull Shoals residents looked for a way to acquire and finance the renovations to the building. In that search for funds, their paths crossed with Robert and Corrine Frick, the developers of the Deerfield subdivision in Bull Shoals. In June of 1999 Robert and Corrine Frick purchased the building and the land and offered it to the community on a twenty-year, no-cost, lease basis if a group could be formed to renovate and operate the theater on a non-profit basis. Subsequently the IRS 501 C 3 corporation “Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts, Inc.” and the Governing Board that the theater presently operates under was formed.
Serving on that initial theater board were: Robert Frick, Corrine Frick, Dawn Klapat, Judy Loving, Joan McKillip, Ron Richter (Director of Operations), Diana Roller, Loren Thompson (Chairman), and Rita Watts.
Now this group’s mission was just starting. Although they had acquired the property and the building, alas the theater building had sat vacant for almost twelve years, and the building needed some major renovations before it could be opened to the public. Under the watchful eye Ron Richter, countless hours were spent by Ron and other volunteers giving the building a complete makeover. They added additional office space and dressing room to the basement, they redid the restrooms in the lobby and installed a new ceiling. The stage also went through some major renovations as did the front of the building.
Nashville Star T. Graham Brown (left) and Ed Bean
Thus begins the story of the many volunteers, the countless hours they spent while restoring the building to its present state, and all the many contributors who financed this operation. Speaking of contributions, the Bull Shoals Lake/White River Area Chamber of Commerce presented a $500 check to the theater. The Bank Of Yellville set up a $10,000 matching fund program. Through private individuals, membership sales, and corporate gifts, the dollar for dollar matching fund goal of $10,000 was met. Judy Loving, the President of the Bank of Yellville, presented the theater with a check for $10,000. A $100, 250 person, Sound System program was setup by Ed Bean. Those who contributed toward the Sound System program have their names engraved on a plaque in the lobby. There is also a plaque containing the names of our individual contributors.
Then last fall the town of Bull Shoals and the Theater received one of the most generous gifts this author has ever seen. Bob and Corrine Frick donated the Theater building and the land on Central Boulevard to the Bull Shoals Fire Auxiliary. The Frick's picture hangs proudly in our lobby for all to view this truely philantropic couple.
Using the land next to the Theater the Bull Shoals Fire Auxiliary broke ground and constructed the Little Bit Used Shop. All proceeds from the Little Bit Used Shop are used to support the Bull Shoals Fire Department and the Firemen's Fund.