In the summer of 1963 Michael Coquat, a graduate student in English at NMSU. was substituting for the regular society editor at the Las Cruces Sun News. He had done considerable theater work elsewhere and was chagrined to find that Las Cruces had no community theater. (There had been a theatrical group in town years before, but all that remained of it were boxes of dried greasepaint, some programs, and an ancient curtain with the letters BM — Memorial — once used in the Library’s multi-purpose room.)
So Coquat called a meeting to see if there were others interested in community theater. There were. The dozen or so who showed up eventually decided to put on a show — a la Garland and Rooney perhaps. Their first production — if it can be called that — was planned to appear in St.Genevieve’s churchyard, for lack of any other available space. At that time the Church was directly across from the present Rio Grande Theater.
The performance on October 5 and 6 was of the medieval play “Noah’s Flood” and was directed by Bill Alford. The new group somehow located enough actors, folks to do make-up, build a stage, sew costumes and cajole their friends into taking a chance on seeing something strange and unusual. The play ends with God’s benediction, in this case delivered from on high (the roof of the Church) by non-other-than Coquat himself. (Let there be Light and there was Light. Or — rather — let there be a Las Cruces Community Theater.)