Youngstown Playhouse

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The Youngstown Playhouse, based in the former industrial center of Youngstown, Ohio, is one of the nation's oldest and most respected community theaters.[1]

Early years[edit]

The Youngstown Playhouse traces its origins to February 16, 1927, when several local drama organizations formed a single organization called the Youngstown Players.[1] With the support of local civic leaders, the group eventually secured its own building.[1] The Youngstown Playhouse was initially housed in a renovated 19th-century barn.[1] In 1940, supporters of the Playhouse raised $30,000 to build a new facility. Instead, the money was used to renovate a vacant movie house for live theater. Two years later, the Playhouse christened its new location with a production of "Camille of Roaring Camp".[1]


During World War II, the Youngstown Playhouse raised its artistic standards considerably. Under the artistic direction of Broadway director Arthur Sircom, the Playhouse became known as a training ground for professional actors. Local theatrical figures who gained experience at the Youngstown Playhouse included the late dramatic screen actress Elizabeth Hartman.[2] In 1959, the Playhouse moved to a new two-theater building on Glenwood Avenue.[1]


Believed by some observers to be the oldest continuously operating community theater in the country, the Youngstown Playhouse was the only community theater in Ohio to receive major institutional support from the Ohio Arts Council. In October 2008, after financial problems caused by mismanagement, the Playhouse closed its doors temporarily. The playhouse removed the management, and changed the structure of the organization to board governed / volunteer run. The playhouse continues to produce shows to date.[1]


Currently, the Youngstown Playhouse is managed by Executive Director, Mary Ruth Lynn.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Youngstown Playhouse Homepage". The Youngstown Playhouse. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  2. ^ "Biff Hartman of Playhouse Roles Has Broadway Lead". The Steel Valley News. November 22, 1964. p. 24. 

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