Lincoln Community Playhouse History
Lincoln Community Playhouse has been an integral part of the arts community since April 24,1946. On July 3, 1946, The Circlet Theatre stage its first production in the Lindell Hotel in downtown Lincoln. In 1947, The Circlet Theatre merged with Lincoln Community Theatre to form Lincoln Circlet Community Theatre. The merged theatre group staged its first production on February 21, 1947 at Lincoln’s Municipal Pool Bathhouse. Less than a decade later, Lincoln Circlet Community Theatre changed its name to Lincoln Community Playhouse and moved to the newly purchased Tifereth Israel Synagogue where it staged its first production on November 3, 1954.
The Playhouse purchased its current located at 2500 S. 56th St. and opened with its first production on February 4, 1972. A building addition, the Gallery Theatre, was completed in 1976 and in 1980 the Children’s Theatre was opened (now known as the Studio Theatre).
In February 2012, the Playhouse kicked off a comprehensive outreach program, A Playhouse for Everyone. A Playhouse for Everyone provides opportunities for those who have limited access to theatre to participate in and see live theatre at the Playhouse, from children through seniors. A Playhouse for Everyone includes free shows for Title I schools, RadioActive Players senior theatre group, and The Penguin Project, theatre for special needs children and peer mentors.
Between 2018-2019, a major renovation was completed with an updated lighting system plus several other electrical upgrades; updated sound system; new seats and installation of hearing assistance in the Oliver T. Joy Mainstage; and new seats, platforms and installation of hearing assistance in the Studio Theatre.
With a list of scheduled activities and projects to be considered, the new Lincoln Community Playhouse Guild met for the first time on Monday, October 9, 1967 at the Southwest Community Center. Formed earlier that summer with 85 charter members, and headed by Marie Muffley, the group’s purpose was to broaden knowledge of the theatre and assist the Playhouse.
Over the past 53 years, Guild members have enjoyed many fun programs and fundraising projects like the Guild's annual white elephant auction. Their fashion show and luncheon held at the Country Club of Lincoln was another popular event with members and the Lincoln community alike. Funds raised from these and many other events allowed the Guild to provide an annual sponsorship of a production at the Playhouse.
However, the world changed. The Guild saw a decline in membership and an inability to recruit new, younger members. Although a difficult and emotional decision, it became apparent this spring that it was time to dissolve the Guild.
Although now officially dissolved, the Guild's 2017 establishment of the Lincoln Community Playhouse Guild Charitable Fund with the Lincoln Community Foundation ensures that the guild will always be a contributing member of the Playhouse community. This fund will continue the Guild's mark on the Playhouse forever.