Founder and owner of Lamp-Lite Theater in Nacogdoches has died at 89

Sarah McMullan was the founder, owner and managing artistic director of the Lamp-Lite Theater in Nacogdoches.
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 5:01 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Sarah McMullan was the founder, owner and managing artistic director of the Lamp-Lite Theater in Nacogdoches.

McMullan fell in love with theater at the age of five while performing in a Christmas play. She moved from Mississippi, where she founded Hattiesburg Little Theater, to Nacogdoches.

Lamp-Lite began in 1971 when Mcmullan rented the Parish Hall in the Christ Episcopal Church. In 1976, the group then moved to the City Spirit Arts Center out of the old Phelan Warehouse, but the area was subject to flooding during this time, and the warehouse theater was actually considered to be on a flood plain. The group then performed dinner productions at the university and other restaurants around town.

The City of Nacogdoches offered a land lease to the theater, and that’s where it still stands today. The actors and friends helped tear down the warehouse theater and rebuild at the new site. The new theater was almost entirely built by volunteers. The doors were opened in 1979.

McMullan directed more than 320 productions for the Lamp-Lite Theater. She also helped guest direct for SFA’s Summer Rep program. Additionally, she directed the Sesquicentennial play, “Nacogdoches: Gateway to Texas,” as her contribution to the community historical celebration.

It was said she would occasionally return to acting in Lamp-Lite’s production of The Christmas Carol. Her favorite roles at the theater include the actress in The Elephant Man, Julia in The Cocktail Party, Dorothy in Inspecting Carol, Mrs. St. Maugham in The Chalk Garden, Lettice Douffet in Lettice and Lovage, Vada in The Exact Center of the Universe and Queen Aggravaine in Once Upon a Mattress.

She has five children and eight grandchildren.

Her daughter, Melanie Barber, announced her mother’s passing in a Facebook post saying, “I am heartbroken to tell you that my beautiful, loving, talented, smart, sweet, creative Mama/Tara/Sarah McMullan went to Heaven today.” She says McMullan’s funeral will take place at the Christ Episcopal Church in a couple of weeks.