CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The oldest arena barn theatre in Pennsylvania has been dark for over two years, but now is ready to welcome back audiences into the newly renovated space.
The walls of the barn have stood for over a century and the playhouse was established in 1958.
It was home to the State College Community Theatre group until 2013. When they left, various productions rolled through, but the barn’s future was uncertain.
The playhouse closed for two years during the pandemic. Over the last four months, general manager John Vickers-Jones led renovations on the space, putting in new seats, galleries, lights, and an all-new artist gallery.
“It’s such an interesting and unique experience to be in this arena theatre,” said Anna Rupprecht, executive director of the Columbus Chapel & Boal Mansion Museum. “It’s very cozy, yet refined. Historic, yet updated.”
An opening night has been highly anticipated and on Sunday, April 24, the playhouse held an open house, welcoming back community members.
“A lot of people who used to perform here are dying to get back in, they love this place, and I don’t blame them for that, it’s been my heart and joy here for a long time,” said Vickers-Jones.
Vickers-Jones said he hopes to share that joy with future audiences of plays, school musicals, recitals, concerts, or even clowning classes.
“What we’ve done is made this a venue for anyone to do anything,” said Vickers-Jones. “It’s community and it’s friendly and it’s family.”
The Boal Barn Playhouse is located at 163 Boal Estate Drive in Boalsburg, PA.