Mission & History


The mission of the Douglas Morrisson Theatre is to involve and enlighten the community through the experience of live theater. We do this by providing the performer with an opportunity for artistic expression and social participation; providing the highest quality theater experience for our audiences; and providing a creative and supportive professional staff.


The Douglas Morrisson Theatre is owned and operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. From its inception in the 1960s as the HARD Community Players, the District's theater program has flourished. The HARD Community Players performed at Chabot College from 1967 to 1975. Youth Programs were added in 1969 and operated out of the Carriage House Theatre on the grounds of the Meek Estate in San Lorenzo. The Carriage House Theatre produced plays by young performers ages 6 through 12 as the Katzenjammer Players. Teens performed as the Carriage House Masquers. Today local actors perform at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre, located near the Hayward Japanese Gardens.

The District oversaw the development and construction of the theatre in 1977-78 and named it the Little Theater at its dedication on November 15, 1978.

The theatre presented its first public performance in January, 1979, with a production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The King and I. The theatre operated as the Little Theater until 2002 when it was renamed the Douglas Morrisson Theatre. The theatre produces a season of plays and musicals starting in September each year. The theatre also produces three concerts by the Morrisson Theatre Chorus each year. In the summer, children from 7 to 15 participate in one- and two-week theater camps.  Adults and teens enjoy classes in voice, acting, scene study and other theater disciplines.

The theatre's budget is supported in part by the property taxes of the residents of Hayward, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and other portions of unincorporated Alameda County. Our 217-seat theatre has become a valuable resource for the entire Bay Area theater community.

The theatre's extensive costume, scenery and property inventory is available for rent to the community at www.dmtrentals.org


Douglas F. Morrisson

In Memoriam

February 12, 1922 - May 22, 2007

Douglas F. Morrisson, a graduate of San Jose State University, was a former high school teacher, independent business owner and Marine Corps veteran. He was first elected to the Board of Directors of the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District in November, 1962. Since that date, he was re-elected by the residents of the District to eleven additional four-year terms, and was in his 45th consecutive year as a member of the Board of Directors.

Over his decades of service, Mr. Morrisson helped lead and initiate the growth and development of the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. For an increasingly diverse population,he witnessed the creation of some of the finest park and recreation facilities: community parks, swim centers, tot-lots, linear parks, community centers, athletic fields, senior centers and special interest facilities like the Little Theater, Adobe Art Center, Sulphur Creek Nature Center and Mission Hills of Hayward Golf Course. He honorably served the park and recreation industry on a local, regional, state and national level and was widely known and highly respected throughout the State of California and the United States for his active interest in the field of parks and recreation.

Mr. Morrisson was a leader in the performing arts movement in the Hayward Area and Alameda County. A former Hayward High School Drama teacher, Mr. Morrisson backed the construction of the Chabot College auditorium in the late 1960s, was the entertainment director for the Alameda County Fair for over 25 years and was a major force behind the financing and construction of the Hayward Little Theater in 1978. In 2002, the Hayward Little Theater was renamed in his honor as the Douglas Morrisson Theatre.

In addition to his outstanding service, Mr. Morrisson was instrumental to the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District receiving over 100 regional, state, and national park and recreation awards. He committed over forty-five years of service to the residents of the District and was truly an outstanding, knowledgeable, and dedicated force. Mr. Morrisson was committed to the park, recreation and leisure services movement and to the preservation and protection of our environment. He unselfishly contributed to the well being and quality of life in Hayward. The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District is what it is today due in part to his many years of dedicated service.