THE BARN THEATRE
Established in 1967.
Your community theatre for 52 years.
In the fall of 1967, the "Martin County Players" started as an adult drama class at the Instructional Center of Stuart. The original show they wished to produce was entitled "The Brick and the Rose"; but because the show's subject matter was deemed "too sensitive", as it focused on drugs, the school board refused to allow the actors to present it at the school. St. Joseph's College (subsequently F.I.T.) temporarily offered the use of their auditorium, and the production was well received. This incident led the group to change their name to "The Renegade Players."
Being frustrated by censorship and inadequate facilities, the troupe determined to find a way to become independent. As fate would have it, a chance remark led to the eventual purchase in December of 1970 of a barn and acre of land that was part of the Bussert Rose Farm. The group separated from the school system was incorporated and became a non-profit. The financial arrangement of the transaction was an act of faith by both parties. The first board of directors borrowed their signatures for the down payment, and Mr. Bussert agreed to a mortgage that called for him to receive half of the proceeds from all players for three years, after which the balance if any, became due.
The two months from purchase to opening was a tremendous challenge. There was no working capital and extensive renovations to be done. Fortunately, many Martin County residents came forth with donations, land, and grueling labor. Converting a flower-packing barn into a theatre was a drama in itself! Insulated refrigeration rooms were demolished, a stage had been built, walls erected, and sound and light booths constructed and furnished: all by volunteers and on the cheap. The last of the theatre-style seats, purchased for $2.00 each, came from a fire-damaged church in West Palm Beach and were installed the day before the first show. The theatre needed a name and an outdoor sign to identify it from the road. Since it was an actual barn, and people would say, " I'll be working at the barn today," it became naturally known as "The Barn ." So BARN THEATRE it was: Martin County's first Community Theatre.
January of 1971 saw the opening of " I Do, I Do," the first play presented on the boards of THE BARN.
By January of 1974, the mortgage was burned, making it possible to begin improving and expanding the theatre facilities-an ongoing process. The early '80s saw added dressing rooms, costume and furniture storage, and a set construction building. The summer of 1986 saw the whole theatre refurbished, including new seats. Subsequent years brought more warehouse and office space, a much-needed rehearsal hall, and the outside entry widened with donated pavers. In the summer of 2014, our inside lobby and restrooms were remodeled and made handicap accessible. The replacement and maintenance of roofing; In addition, we have spent considerable money, time, and effort upgrading our lighting and sound facilities to professional quality equipment to enhance the audience experience.
As we were from the beginning 52 years ago, we are still an all-volunteer performing arts theatre. We have thrived with the original business model and mission statement of volunteerism and community involvement. Each season we present six full musicals or plays and several special events.
We are proud to have carried on the traditions and visions of our founders.
We hope they are proud.
Thank you for making this dream possible.