Barn Swallow Theatre kicking of 2013 seasonPublished 12:07pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013
EDWARDSBURG — Barn Swallow Theatre kicked off the 2013 season with an open house Sunday in its new facility east of Edwardsburg on US-12.
Barn Swallow will hold a first year of productions in its new building beginning with a variety show July 13.
Barn Swallow Theatre opened in 1985. The entire idea began a few years earlier when after church Ada Barr and Marjorie Federowski, who was honored at the open house, were talking and came up with the idea of having a community theater in Cass County.
Barr, Marj Federowski, along with Rachel Federowski and Marge and Johnie Rodebush, traveled to Syracuse, Ind. to see a performance at the Enchanted Hills Playhouse.
The discussion of having their own community theater was once again the topic of discussion.
Johnie Rodebush noted that there were a pair of old barns behind the county services building on Hospital Street.
So on June 12, 1983, Marj Federowski presented the idea to the Cass County Board of Social Services, of which she was a member, and Rodebush, a county commissioner, presented the idea to the rest of the commissioners.
A month later, articles of incorporation were drawn up by local attorney Robert Craig and the Barn Swallow Theatre was born with Carrie LaPorte being elected its first president.
The first board of governors was established in 1985 and consisted of Rodebush, John Gore, Pam Beopple, Armindo Mesko, Dr. Tom Rea, Federowski and Barr.
The first production was “A Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters, which was adapted by Charles Aidman and directed by Barr and Karen Current.
The barn not only held the performances of the group, but had a certain charm about it with the sound of passing train whistles, crickets chirping outside and moonlight filtering through the side of the barn.
And, of course, there were the barn swallows in the basement of the barn.
Seats were purchased from a Niles church and everyone pitched in to install them.
Since its early beginnings, the Barn Swallow Theatre has offered plays, musicals and children’s performances.
Unfortunately, the barn was lost to a fire in 2004.
Since that time the members of the Barn Swallow Theatre have worked tirelessly to try and find a new facility. After several failed attempts, the group found the old Hope United Methodist Church and work began to finalize the purchase of the building, which came in February of 2011.
Since then, work has continued on the facility, which has included the installation of chairs that were donated by Wonderland Cinema in Niles and making it feel more like home. The theater has 76 seats, but has room for additional seating and handicap seating for 88.
Barn Swallow Theatre has continued to perform throughout the entire process, but this coming year will be the first full season in its new facility.
After the variety show in July, Barn Swallow Theatre will also host “Really Rosie” a children’s show Aug. 8-11. That will be followed up in September with a “Sampling of Original Playwrights,” “Little Shop of Horrors” in October, a talent show and pie auction in November and “Nuncrackers” in December.
A full listing of productions, including dates, times and cost can be found at www.barnswallowtheatre.com.
“The first show we had here was ‘Godspell’ in August (2011) and there were no seats here,” Lois Owen, vice present of Barn Swallow Theatre said. “It was just folding chairs. We had a good crowd and everything. We didn’t have anything else because there was just so much we wanted to do.
“Last year we got the seats in, painted the stage and did all the other things we had to do to make it our own. We were going to have a show in June, but had to cancel that one, so we had a children’s show in August, we had “Quilters” in September and then we had our fundraiser, which is either a variety show or a talent show. We had that in November and that was the season.”
Tickets for the season opening variety show are $12. For more information about Barn Swallow Theatre, call 445-2511, 445-2142 or visit the website.