QUALITY COMMUNITY THEATRE SINCE 1924
In the early 1920s, four women from Temple Rodef Sholom began reading plays for their own enjoyment. This blossomed into the beginnings of the Youngstown Players, which then became The Youngstown Playhouse.
By 1924, it became clear that the Youngstown community needed local entertainment. Contemporary stars such as Al Jolson, Walter Hampden, and the Barrymores, who stopped through for touring performances en route to larger cities, were not enough for the people who made their homes here. They desired 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.