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. " 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.

Summer 1950

Norvelle expanded the summer season to four plays. Summer heat cut the schedule to three plays annually until a new, permanent Playhouse could be constructed. During the 1950's Wooden seating was replaced by canvas lawn chairs. Because sparks from a nearby potter's kiln kept burning holes in the canvas roof, a tin roof replaced the tent fabric.


Restroom facilities were installed at the Playhouse. Before this, patrons walked across the street to use restrooms in the Nashville House. A new roof extension provided for an additional 200 seats; reserved seating was made available to patrons. Thursday evening performances were added to the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening schedule.


A new theater building was built.

September, 2010

Indiana University Theater Department ceased production and decided to close Brown County Playhouse.

January-July, 2011

Indiana University Foundation and Brown County Community Foundation worked together to return The Playhouse to local Brown County ownership and control.

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