THE BARN THEATRE
YOUR COMMUNITY THEATRE FOR 50 YEARS
A BRIEF HISTORY 1969-2019
In the fall of 1967, the "Martin County Players" started as an adult drama clas at the Instructional Center of Stuart, but because of the subject matter of "The Brick and the Rose" (drugs) the school board refused to allow it to be presented 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 chartered as a non-profit. The financial arrangement of the transaction was an act of faith by both parties. The first board of directors borrowed on their personal signatures for the down payment and Mr. Bussert agreed to a mortgage which called for him to receive half of the proceeds from all players for a period of three years, after which the balance, if any, became due.
Needless to say, the two months from purchase to opening was a tremendous challenge. There was no working capital and extensive renovations to be done. Fortunately a wide assortment of Martin County residents came forth with donations, land, and grueling labor. The process of converting a flower packing barn into a theatre was a drama in itself! Insulated refrigeration rooms were demolished, a stage was 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 had to have a name and an outdoor sign to identify it. Since it was a real barn, and people would say " I'll be working at the barn today", it, became known quite naturally as "The Barn". So BARN THEATRE it was: Martin County's 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 80's saw added dressing rooms, costume and furniture storage, and a set construction building. The summer of 1986 saw the whole theatre refurbished, including new theatre seats. Subsequent years brought more storage 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 completely remodeled and made handicap accessible. The replacement and maintenance of roofing, addition, we have spent considerable money, time and effort in upgrading our lighting and sound facilities to professional quality equipment to enhance the audience experience.
As we were from the beginning 50 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 6 full musicals or plays as well as several special events. We offer scholarships to graduating seniors and we support other local costumers, ushers, parkers, and all Board members are volunteers.
We Are Proud To Have Carried On The Traditions And Visions Of Our Founders.
We Hope They Would Be Proud.
Come Join Us In The Adventure!