A Humble Start...
The year was 1970, and a group of local performers had a dream. They wanted to bring theatrical works to life as both an outlet for their own hobbies and to entertain the community. The initial group consisted of local legends like Suzy Broadwater, Doctor David Colvin, Stella Cooke, Danny Darnell, and members of the Caldera family including Bruce, Carmen, and Carla. When they first began performing, they would rehearse in basements and perform in any space that would allow it including restaurants.
Over the years, the group began to grow by leaps and bounds until the group became a guild of thespians. Hardin County Playhouse officially became a business by obtaining their non-profit status in 1979. Along with becoming a business came the opportunity of performing their productions for bigger audiences. Their first fixed location was loving called "The Barn" and was located in Radcliff City Park. After "The Barn" was severely damaged by a hazardous blizzard and ice storm, the building was condemned and demolished. However, the spirit of Hardin County Playhouse could not be squelched by Mother Nature! Hardin County Playhouse found new life temporarily at Elizabethtown Community College (as it was known at the time) and permanently in the location formerly occupied by Sears in Radcliff.
A Season of Growth...
As the theatre continued to grow both in number of patrons and volunteers, Hardin County Playhouse out grew the renovated Sears building. This led to a great opportunity for collaboration with the City of Elizabethtown as Hardin County Playhouse moved to the Plum Alley Theater which is part of the Historic State Theater complex. The Plum Alley provided more seating for patrons, a larger performance space, dressing rooms with full bathrooms and makeup/hair areas, a lobby, box office area, and scene shop. It was a great home for over 10 years, and for many of our current volunteers it provided them with their first Hardin County Playhouse experiences.
Volunteer, Kay Mau, first officially performed with Hardin County Playhouse in the 2007 performance of Cabaret. She had not been part of a production since 2002 when she was in college. "Performing in Cabaret was a life changing experience for me. Artistically, it pushed me to become a stronger, harder working performer than ever before as I had never been a part of a musical! Mentally, the experience made me more confident in myself. Socially, being involved with Hardin County Playhouse introduced me to a group of friends that I never would have known otherwise!"
In the summer of 2018, Hardin County Playhouse performed its last show in the Plum Alley: Annie. Annie was a blessing for many in the community as it provided several children with their first theatrical experience. Even though the time at Plum Alley had to come to a close, Hardin County Playhouse knew that "the sun will come out tomorrow".
A Time to Rebuild and Build!
As the saying goes "when one door closes, another door opens"! For Hardin County Playhouse, the new door was opened by Dr. Justin Pate with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. A life long patron of the arts, Dr. Pate welcomed Hardin County Playhouse to the Science Auditorium stage. Since November 2018, they have used this stage for a gala, comedies, a musical, dramas, and an original work by a local playwright. Hardin County Playhouse has been able to welcome new volunteers and patrons as they work closely with the college.
In concurrence with continuing to produce plays, the Hardin County Playhouse has been actively fundraising the build their own building! They are currently raising funds to develop a new facility that will return them to Downtown Elizabethtown. The future site of Hardin County Playhouse is located adjacent to the Hardin County Justice Center parking lot and will house a state of the art venue for performing arts! For more on the future location of Hardin County Playhouse, click here!