Foothills Performing Arts had humble beginnings as Caldwell Community Theatre in 1976. The student lounge of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute was renovated into a black box theatre to welcome the newly created group. Shows like Fiddler on the Roof and 1776 were performed in the gymnasium on campus. First in Freedom in 1977 was even performed as an outdoor drama on Gunpowder Creek, which runs behind the college. The first season in 1976-1977 consisted of four shows: The Glass Menagerie, The Butterfinger's Doll, Godspell, and Fiddler on the Roof.
As the drama program in Caldwell Community College grew, the school created an opportunity specifically for students called the Collegiate Show Company. They worked in tandem with Caldwell Community Theatre, and eventually merged to become Foothills Performing Arts.
Foothills Performing Arts is now the resident theatre of the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center as of 2016, which has a 1,000 seat theatre space.
FPA began with the vision of integrating theatre, music, and dance in a wide variety of performances. To this day, Foothills Performing Arts continues this tradition by producing quality shows as Lenoir's community theatre.