Find stories like this in The Highlander, the newspaper of record for the Highland Lakes. To offer a comment or news tip, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to our e-Edition online or call 830-693-4367.
The lights which shine bright on the Hill Country Community Theatre stage are dimmer now from news of the passing of HCCT co-founder Virginia Lee “Gigi” Salmons Fischer, who died Tuesday, Nov. 3, in Caddo Mills at the age of 91.
Fischer, a Horseshoe Bay resident, passed away peacefully at the home of her son and daughter-in-law, John and Kara Fischer, after spending her final months among family.
“Ultimately, Gigi’s work at HCCT touched the lives of thousands — actors, crew, audience members and supporters — and many who had never “trod the boards” or previously seen a live stage performance,” said Mike Rademaekers, executive director of the theatre. “We are now one of the oldest continuously operating community theatres in Texas.
“As we enter our 36th year, we look toward the future and the many challenges that lie ahead, we offer our heartfelt gratitude to Gigi and Phyl for their dedication to make the Hill Country Community Theatre a reality.”
On June 6, 1985, Fischer and friend, the late Phyl Holbert, hosted a cocktail party at Fischer’s home for people they believed may be interested in establishing a live theatre in Horseshoe Bay.
To their surprise, 22 guests attended and expressed enthusiasm for the project. Melissa Rowe offered up the name “Hill Country Community Theatre” to signify the theatre was an enterprise for all the surrounding communities to participate in and enjoy.
Fischer and Holbert were among those chosen to lead the theatre’s board of governors. Early meetings of the group would include covered dish suppers where members would get acquainted and enjoy theatre-related activities, including informal readings from various plays.
The group staged their first public revue at Quail Point Lodge, with Fischer preparing readings from comedies and Carolyn Young putting together musical numbers. The event was so well received the Horseshoe Bay Resort Yacht Club invited them to perform there as well.
Other performances would take place at Marble Falls High School and at the Cottonwood Shores Fire Station, the latter thanks to former CWSVFD Chief Dutch Leming.
In 1990, after the fire station building was auctioned off, the theatre was able to purchase a former boat dealership building in Cottonwood Shores along Ranch to Market Road 2147 and what would become known as Dutch Leming Drive. The building was transformed into the performance venue that, to this day, serves as the home for Hill Country Community Theatre.
“Having a permanent home has allowed us to expand the building as well as our activities,” Rademaekers said. “Various outreach programs have been introduced, including a children’s summer theatre program and scholarship awards. Many volunteers dedicate their time to help us achieve our goals.
“HCCT now mounts a season of five shows every year, with twelve performances each and several special events, including an annual talent show.”
A memorial for Fischer at HCCT is pending.