Director Trevail Maurice speaks to the company of DREAMGIRLS (2019).
As we approach our 100th Anniversary Season, The Youngstown Playhouse remains committed to our mission of presenting quality theatre arts performances, providing educational initiatives, and establishing and maintaining community partnerships while supporting and participating in the revitalization of the city of Youngstown. Since our inception in 1924, The Youngstown Playhouse has sustained a legacy of quality live performance theatre in Northeast Ohio by staging innovative, unique, and accessible theatrical performances of both classic and modern productions. Located in Youngstown’s Glenwood Avenue Corridor, we annually serve over 8,000 audience members of all ages with a full season of 10 musicals and plays complemented by workshops, readings, and concerts in our mainstage theatre (400 seats) and our intimate blackbox space, The Moyer Room (75 seats). Our vibrant Youth Theatre Program serves nearly 150 participants through classes, workshops, and fully staged productions attended by over 1,000 local public school students annually. We remove barriers to arts access by requiring no participation fees for our youth productions and by offering financial assistance for class and workshop tuition. Our tickets are affordably priced, with regular tickets not exceeding $16, and with discounts available for seniors, students, and military. We rely on a lean, part-time staff of 5 members, 80 volunteers, 16 board members, and on the annual artistic contributions of nearly 300 local actors, technicians, and designers.
As one of the oldest ongoing community theatres in the country, The Youngstown Playhouse remains committed to our mission of presenting quality theatre arts performances, providing educational initiatives, and establishing and maintaining community partnerships while supporting and participating in the revitalization of the city of Youngstown.
We accomplish our mission with the following commitments:
- To develop an appreciation of theatre as a participatory art form. To develop and promote opportunities that broaden participation, education, and opportunities for artists, educators, volunteers, and others who support creative community involvement.
- To support and encourage participation in activities that enrich, relate, and contribute to the Mahoning Valley arts and cultural community.
- To remain an integral part of the community through programs, involvement, leadership, and service.
- To recruit, develop, and retain persons with aptitudes and interests in theatre.
- To develop among youth and adults an appreciation of theatre.
- To develop among youth and adults knowledge and skills related to theatre.
- Above all, we strive to create a nurturing and caring environment conducive to the enjoyment of experiencing quality live theatre.
In the early 1920’s, four ladies from Rodef Sholom began reading plays for their own enjoyment. This soon blossomed into the beginnings of our own Youngstown Players and became The Youngstown Playhouse.
By 1924, it became clear that the Youngstown community wanted entertainment. The stars, like Al Jolson, Walter Hampden and the Barrymores who stopped by for brief performances on their way to bigger cities were not enough for the people who made their homes here. They wanted a different kind of theatre – a theatre for players, a theatre where the whole community could participate. The seeds for a community theatre were planted.
On February 16, 1927, several different drama organizations merged to form The Youngstown Players.
The Playhouse’s first home was in a converted barn at 138 Lincoln Avenue, with an entrance on Arlington Street. Eventually, the organizers of the theatre brought in 165 seats and a 25-foot stage and the first performances were staged in 1928.
The Playhouse on Arlington Street was the result of a labor of love involving many Youngstown families and the area’s outstanding talent. There was not necessarily any connection between the two. From the beginning, The Youngstown Players brought together people of all different backgrounds – rich and poor; teacher and student; store owner and clerk. All of them worked together in the pursuit of dramatic art. Nothing else counted except talent and a willingness to put it to work.
Over the years, The Playhouse grew. It moved locations from Arlington Street to its theatre on Market Street in 1942. The Playhouse eventually moved to its current home on Glenwood Avenue in 1959.
Talent blossomed and moved on. Some artists went to Broadway. Others to Hollywood. Dozens of famous directors, actors and producers credit their success in the business to the lessons they learned on-stage, backstage and in the offices of The Youngstown Playhouse.
The Youngstown Playhouse currently celebrates 90+ years of bringing live theatre to Youngstown. During that time, The Playhouse has always strived to honor the classic theatre works by reintroducing them to the public and also introducing them to a new generation of theatre-goers. We have also tried to stay as current as possible with new works by new artists from all over the country. During those 90 years, The Playhouse has never been subsidized by state or federal funds but instead relied on community support and ticket sales.