Huron Country Playhouse is one of Ontario’s oldest summer theatres
Across Ontario many professional summer theatres have opened and disappeared over the years so the fact the Huron County Playhouse will stage its 47th season in 2018 proves the theatre’s remarkable success.
Founder James Murphy had a dream that Grand Bend, as one of Ontario’s most popular resorts, should have a summer theatre. With the help of some enthusiastic local supporters the dream was realized in July 1972 when the first production Two for the Seesaw took place in a huge tent next to the barn on a farm at the current location, east of Grand Bend off Hwy. 81.
Murphy’s original idea was to turn the old barn into a theatre, but when that proved impractical, they found the solution of building a theatre that looked like a barn. And what a theatre, one of the largest summer theatre facilities in Ontario, seating 650 people with a large stage and orchestra pit so that full-scale Broadway and West End musicals could be staged.
Later a second barn-like theatre, Playhouse II was added seating 300. This facility mostly hosts smaller scale comedies.