Johnny ’73 and Diane Rowand Simons ’66

Hip Pocket Theatre

Fort Worth

Johnny ’73 and Diane Rowand Simons ’66

Hip Pocket Theatre

Fort Worth

Johnny ’73 and Diane Rowand Simons ’66 may not be your idea of entrepreneurs, but for 23 years the owners and operators of Fort Worth’s Hip Pocket Theatre have created a brand of theatre hard to find anywhere else.

Many of Hip Pocket’s plays fall around the shores of Lake Worth, where Johnny grew up and still lives.

Still, the playhouse’s quirky style has shown through productions as diverse as H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes and Federico Garcia Lorca’s The Butterfly’s Evil Spell.

All performed, the Hip Pocket has produced more than 175 productions, including 90 world premieres.

Johnny and Diane, married for 30 years, met at TCU and then worked together for years at Casa Manana before starting their own theater in 1977. Johnny directs and writes while Diane serves as house producer and costume designer.

They have two grown daughters, Lake and Lorca, who also sometimes perform or direct productions.

Hip Pocket’s thrust-stage amphitheatre looks like its general contractor worked without a tape measure. The stage balcony is perched in a tree. And its sound and light booth might have been purchased at a flea market. All the better considering the outcome.

“From the beginning, we were very cautious about trying to expand rapidly or change, alter too many things,” Johnny said. “It’s very important for the Hip Pocket to retain its texture, a rough-hewn quality I feel comfortable with. I like to term my theater ‘illegitimate com-munity the-a-ter.’ . . . I want to steer clear of le-git-i-mate theater.”

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1 Comment

  1. I ‘m looking for Diane Rowand who is a cousin of mine.

    Please ask her to check her Facebook messages and send me a message.


    Jonathan Rogers

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