The Legacy of Roberta Jones
Community theater in Santa Clara began when Roberta Jones and a small group of hardworking individuals conceived the idea of a theater group. After petitioning the Santa Clara Parks & Recreation Department for support, the Santa Clara Players formed in 1961. Their first production was “My Three Angels,” performed at Santa Clara University.
Jones served as initial President of the Players and as producer of their productions. In 1968, the Players left the Parks & Recreation Department and became an independent, non-profit group.
The next project for Roberta was establishing a children's theater group and thus, the Santa Clara Junior Theatre was born. Young people from 8-18 years old put on five shows a year. Roberta Jones picked the shows, directed some, and served as executive producer of the entire program and also as "Mom" for her young charges, working to instill a sense of responsibility and dedication in each child.
A native of South Dakota, Jones earned degrees in Theater Arts from Wesleyan University in South Dakota and the University of Denver. This earned Jones an extensive knowledge of theater, but it was her love and indomitable spirit that served her so well in 31 years of dedicated service to the youth of Santa Clara.
On November 30, 1999, the City of Santa Clara honored Roberta Jones by issuing a proclamation and changing the name of the Children's Theater to the Roberta Jones Junior Theatre. Roberta Jones died on December 8, 1999, but her legacy continues in Santa Clara theater.