Ephrata Performing Arts Center

320 Cocalico Street
Ephrata, PA 17522

717-733-7966

History:

The Ephrata Performing Arts Center, located at the Sharadin Bigler Theatre, has been producing and performing high quality productions for the community of Central Pennsylvania for the last 30 years.

The land the building is located on was part of Penn's Woods until it was given to the Daniel Eicher family in 1734. It remained in the family until 1912, when The Ephrata Park Association obtained the land for a public park. Around this time, the original Eicher barn was torn down and a pavilion was erected on its foundation. The pavilion was used as a dance hall and roller rink from 1915 until the Great Depression when the building started to fall into disrepair. In 1935, the American Legion took ownership and began a major improvement project, restoring the building to its former glory.

In 1953, Broadway producer John Cameron contracted with Legion to begin producing summer stock in the pavilion, which was renamed the Legion Star Playhouse. Cameron brought in big names from New York to perform in his plays, including Veronica Lake, Betty White, Eva Gabor, Chico Marx, Francis Farmer, and Ann B. Davis.

After John Cameron's departure in 1972, a group of volunteer citizens began to present and produce plays in order to preserve the tradition of what had become known as The Playhouse in the Park. The group grew and evolved, eventually incorporating as a not-for-profit organization in 1979. The first season presented under the name Ephrata Performing Arts Center was in the summer of 1980.

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