It all started in the 1890's in a building on Melrose Avenue called The Opera House. Around the time of World War I, the community's theatrical efforts became more organized in the Tryon Dramatic Society, which met at the Lanier Library. Then, in the fall of 1921, The Drama Fortnightly was formed and began performances at the Parish House of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in 1922. World War II ended The Drama Fortnightly, but in December 1947 a movement to resurrect playgoing locally resulted in the organization of the Tryon Little Theater.

The first play by the new Tryon Little Theater was Booth Tarkington's The Trysting Place, presented in the Parish House on May 5, 1948. Performances continued at the Parish House, Sunnydale Restaurant, and other make-shift spaces but all longed for a proper theater.

TLT took the lead among local arts organizations to help erect a major performing arts center. After extensive fund raising, the Tryon Fine Arts Center opened its doors for the first time in February 1969 with Tryon Little Theater's production of The Madwoman of Chaillot. Over the years, Tryon Little Theater provided the community with a broad range of comedies, dramas and musicals.

In 1999, TLT partnered with the Tryon Youth Center to produce summer youth musicals, which TYC had been producing on its own since 1970. Also in 1999, TLT established its first “black box” workshop on North Trade Street in a former roller skating rink building. In 2005 the Workshop moved to its current location at 516 South Trade Street, a former auto parts store.

Church halls, restaurants, an old roller skating rink, a former auto parts store...TLT has made do as thespians always have – creating magic where none existed.