History of the Playhouse

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 fact that the Playhouse was the first summer stock theatre to open in Indiana after World War II contributed to its unique status in Nashville – then a community with a population of 493 in 1949.

For more than 61 years, the Playhouse was owned by Indiana University Foundation and operated for the benefit of IU Theatre Department. The performance season was limited to only five months. It has always been a featured attraction in Brown County; economically successful and critically acclaimed. The Playhouse has been a core economic contributor to the community, serving a local population of 15,500 that swells during tourist season to over two million. Throughout it's history, Brown County Playhouse has opened its doors to more than 30,000 theater-goers annually.

From a rustic open air barn, to the 426-seat performance space we have today, nestled in the heart of historic Nashville, Indiana, Brown County Playhouse is building a successful, year-round operation. With our year round programming we can better meet the needs of a wide variety of performers, substantially increases our loyal audience base and brings greater economic benefit to our community overall. We showcase a diverse talent base including established, polished productions, community-based theater, comedy, drama and establish a permanent home for a broad range of musical traditions. We include experienced, as well as emerging artists, and playwrights in our program offerings. Finally we are fulfilling Jack Rogers' original vision and have added "film emporium" to our program list.

Print Email