The Playhouse has gone through many changes throughout the years.....
Early in 1949
Brown County resident A. Jack Rogers and Professor Lee Norvelle, director of University Theatre at IU joined forces to establish a non-profit "straw hat" theatre. "...to do for theatre in Brown County, what has been done in the field of painting." Rogers supplied the land and financed the initial cost of the building, while Norvelle agreed to prepare all the productions at Indiana University using students and faculty and scenery built in the University workshops.
July 15, 1949
Playhouse entertained its first audience with "The Old Soak" in an open-air barn with a large tent covering general admissions seating.
The Brown County Playhouse entertained its first audience on July 15, 1949, with a production of The Old Soak by Don Marquis. The next day, Corbin Patrick informed readers of the Indianapolis Star that "something new has been added to the inducements that Brown County, scenic heart of southern Indiana, offers visitors. "Nashville today is the only county seat town in the state that can boast of a dramatic stock company but no film emporium." Click here to read: "The First 50 Years"
The Brown County Playhouse Performing Arts Center reopened in July 2011 when the IU Foundation handed over the keys to the Brown County Community Foundation (BCCF). A local group of professionals formed Brown County Playhouse Management, Inc. to manage the facility, and eventually ownership was transferred from BCCF to the non-profit management group.
Brown County Playhouse Management, Inc. Board Members:
Bob Kirlin, President
Clint Studabaker, Vice President
Patty Frensemeier, Treasurer
Lisa Hall, Secretary
Larry Hanson, and Christine Kemp.
Kathy Anderson, Keith Baker, Linda McQueary, Doug Harden, and Pam Gould, Emeritus
Executive Director - Hannah Estabrook
Bar Manager: Ian Levett
Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeping: Kathy McDonald
Food/Beverage: Tami Hendrix, Jane Varner and Sharon Roth
Ticketing Services: Mike Goodin and Tami Hendrix
Technical: Warren Sargent, Sound and Allie Mattox, Lighting
The Playhouse management team continues its commitment to diversity and quality of programming. In 2017 the Playhouse will continue to feature live dramatic performances, comedy, dance, the latest films, and a variety of musical events. They will also host the 5th annual Brown County Music Lifetime Achievement Award and Celebration.