Information on:

The Barn Theatre

The Barn Theatre
2400 South East Ocean Boulevard


In the fall of 1969, the Martin County Players started as an adult education drama class at the “Instructional Center of Stuart, Florida”. Mr. Richard Allen was the instructor.

The first scheduled show was of two one act plays; “The Brick and the Rose” and “Subway Circus”. Because of the subject matter of “The Brick and the Rose” (drugs) the school board refused to allow it to be presented at the school. St Joseph’s College, subsequently F.I.T., offered the use of their auditorium, and the production was well received. This incident led the group to call themselves “The Renegade Players”. 

The class continued at the school and enjoyed success with “Used Car for Sale”, “Harvey”, and “The Impossible Years”. During this time they began to feel discontented with the inadequate facilities at the Instructional Auditorium. They dreamed of a larger stage, more backstage room, better lighting equipment, adequate storage, and more comfortable seating for the audience. It was also frustrating to have to cope with the censorship of the plays which the school board found necessary to enforce.

As fate would have it a chance remark to Mr. Allen by his physician, Dr. Penick, led to the eventual purchase of a barn and an acre of land in December of 1971. It was part of the well known Bussert Rose Farm. The group separated from the school system, was incorporated, and became chartered as a non-profit organization.

The financial arrangement of the transaction was an act of faith by both parties. The first board of directors borrowed on their personal signatures for the down payment and Mr. Bussert agreed to a mortgage which called for him to receive half of the proceeds from all plays for a period of three years, after which the balance, if any, became due.

Needless to say, those first months were a tremendous challenge. There was no working capital and a mountain of renovating to be done. At this time a great assortment of Martin County folk demonstrated their desire to have a community theatre. They came forth with donations, loans and grueling labor.

The process of converting a flower packing barn into a theatre was a drama all in itself! Insulated refrigerated rooms were demolished, a stage was built, walls erected, and sound and light booths constructed and furnished. All by volunteers and on the cheap. The last of the theatre style seats, purchased for $2.00 each, and paid for by individual contributions, came from a fire damaged church in West Palm Beach, and were installed the day before the first show. The theatre had to have a name and an outdoor sign to identify it. Since it was a real barn, and people would say “I’ll be working at the barn today”, it became known quite naturally as “THE BARN”. So Barn Theatre it was: Martin County’s Community Theatre. 

January of 1971 saw the opening of “I Do, I Do!”, the first play presented on the boards of THE BARN. By January of 1974 the mortgage was burned, making it possible to begin improving and expanding the theatre facilities – an ongoing process. Over the years we’ve added dressing rooms, costume and furniture storage, and a set construction building. The summer of 1986 saw the whole theatre refurbished and 169 new theatre seats added. In the last few years, more storage and office space was added, as well as a much needed rehearsal hall, and the entry was widened and pavers added to round out our facilities.

 Early on, THE BARN realized the need for continuing community involvement and in 1974 a “Summer Theatre for Young People” was instituted with it’s first production, “Godspell”.  This project was so well received that THE BARN has continued to encourage young people to participate in live theatre year round. Today we have a very popular “Camp Barn Theatre”, a summer camp that teaches all aspects of theatre. In fact much of our technical support comes from these young people!  We have also provided adult acting classes, “Acting for the Young at Heart”, that has brought many new actors and other volunteers into the fold.

THE BARN IS Martin County’s oldest non-profit (501c3) community theatre. And we are the only Community Theatre venue from Ft. Pierce to Jupiter. We present 6 main-stage productions per year, with 13 performances each. Actors, directors, producers, sound and lighting technicians, set builders and designers, costumers, ushers, parkers, etc. are all volunteers! 

The Barn Theatre is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media