Founding the Company and Finding a Home

Langhorne Players Theater Company was founded in 1947 in Langhorne, Pennsylvania by the late Ed Macon. Following initial efforts to establish the company from an old rustic barn, the Players moved around Bucks County several times in an effort to find a permanent home. They finally settled into the Spring Garden Mill in Tyler State Park in 1976. To make the rustic Mill space into a theater, the company had to install a plumbing system, ticket booth, refreshment stand, stage, lighting booth, dressing room, and a scenic shop. Luckily, the early members were talented in electrical work, carpentry, and plumbing, and this can-do attitude has continued to characterize Langhorne Players' efforts through the years.

1950s Langhorne Players

Critical Acclaim and Commitment to a Quality Company

Although the faces have changed, there is a spirit of dedication and community service that has always been at the heart of the Langhorne Players. In play programs from as far back as the company's first production, evidence of one mission remains constant: The commitment to excellence in theater.

Critically acclaimed, Langhorne Players has built a reputation for expert sets, costumes and lighting, as well as strong directing and casting. Seats to the theater frequently sell out, not because we perform recognizable plays, but because we select new, interesting, or unusual works from the finest Broadway and Off-Broadway playwrights. Our theater company members consider themselves lucky to have the trust of the audience that their experience will be well worth the cost of their seats.

Through the work of volunteers, this theater has seen more than a half-century's worth of actors, directors, technicians, stage crews, box office personnel, and refreshment servers come and go. One thing has been the motivating force for all their efforts: Pride in having been a part of this magnificent theater company.

Dedicated to Theater and Dedicating a Theater

In 2003, the theater space was dedicated in the name of a beloved member, the late Betty Davis (not the Betty Davis, but our Betty Davis). Fulfilling the dreams of our founding members, the Betty Davis Memorial Theater was transformed into an artistic space where audience members are treated to an intimate experience, sitting comfortably in velvet-covered seats. The theater is air-conditioned and accommodates 73 patrons per performance.

Our Signature Snack: Cheese Curls

During intermission, Langhorne Players provides free soft drinks and salty snacks to our patrons. (Drop a dollar in the jar to offset costs if you like.) The basket that empties the fastest is always the Cheese Curls. Patrons tell us they would never have them in their homes for fear they would eat the whole bag, but they happily indulge when at the Mill. A few years back, we even created a t-shirt as a fundraiser featuring the slogan, "Come for the Cheese Curls. Stay for the Show." You're welcome to make your fingers orange at the next performance.

Fun Facts

Plays originally ran for two weekends Friday and Saturday night only.

In the early years single tickets were sold for $1.50, Season Subscriptions for $6.00.

In 1959 benefits could be purchased for $150.00 for 300 tickets (a full house). Today our benefits are still reasonably priced.

Membership meetings and notes of who attended opening nights were regularly reported in local newspapers in society and entertainment pages.

Many of our current subscribers have been with us for over 12 years, some as many as 22 years.

 

2017 Board of Directors

President
Jack Bathke

Vice President
Hans Peters

Treasurer
Ken Marblestone

Secretary
Todd Gregoire

Members at Large
Barry Abramowitz, Tami Amici, Blaire Deziel, Jonathan Edmondson, Scott Fishman, Robert A. Norman, Hans Peters, Vincent Pileggi, and Nigel Rogers 

Standing Committees

Director Selection
Marketing
Outreach /Event Planning
Play Selection
Publicity

MILESTONES

February 24, 1947  Langhorne Players was founded at the home of the late Edward and Katherine Macon, by a group of 30 would-be thespians that had answered an advertised invitation in the Delaware Valley Advance.

May 16, 1947  With a loan of $200 from the Langhorne Men’s Club, the Players staged their first public production, “George Washington Slept Here” in Penndel’s old Casino Theater.

February – June 1948  Held the first full season with “Boy Meets Girl,” “You Can’t Take It With You,” and “Personal Appearance” in the Yardley Community House.

July 1948 – May 1950  Negotiations were completed for the lease of an old barn on the Morris property, Fieldstone Farm and $1,000 was borrowed for its conversion. The space was not large enough to hold the growing productions or audiences so the theater borrowed $1,000 to renovate a space at Trainor’s Farm.

May 1951  Langhorne Players purchase a record, “The Mississippi Suite” by Ferde Grofe, played it on a borrowed phonograph and used their new theme song for the first time as the Trainor property’s Barn doors swung open for the revival of “George Washington Slept Here.”

February – December 1953  The first and only season to include more than six productions.  The production of “Kind Lady” was the first in our benefit performance series.  The expanded season enabled the theater to borrow more money to enlarge the parking lot and replace the roof of the building.

February – November 1954  It was during this season that the lobby art exhibit was inaugurated. In the late 50s the space was called the Horse Stall Galleries and featured some of Bucks County’s most prominent artists.

February – November 1955  Langhorne Players received its first load of New York TV set pieces. (Maxwell House Coffee Hour, “Hit Parade,” “Omnibus,” “Studio One” and “U.S. Steel Hour” were labels commonly seen on their scenery in those days.)  A full schedule of plays for the following year was announced after the last show and season tickets went on sale for the first time.

November 1968  Long-time member and revered volunteer Betty Davis made her directing debut with the final show of the season, “Nature’s Way” by Herman Wouk.

1970  Langhorne Players loses the Trainor property barn to Core Creek Park, and a search for a new location began. A temporary home was found in the Yardley Community Center until 1976

December 1975  Langhorne Players met with controversy when they produced “The Boys in The Band” by Mark Crowley, a play that centers around homosexuality.

1976  After numerous meetings with the Department of Parks, Langhorne Players with the help of member Betty Davis and State Senator Jack Renniger, received a 25-year lease for the Spring Garden Mill in Tyler State Park – our current home.

1980  Langhorne Players produces its first full season of plays in its new home in the Spring Garden Mill in Tyler State Park.

September 1999  Hurricane Floyd came to Pennsylvania and flooded the theater, forcing us to cancel the final show of the season. Volunteers came out in droves, and the Players’ took out loans totaling $30,000 to clean out and repair the mill. We reopened in 2000. The house left wall of the audience has a line to showing the level the water and debris that was in the theater; a memory of trials past.

2003  Theater space was dedicated to long-time member Betty Davis, and named the Betty Davis Memorial Theater.

As you walk through the opening to the theater, glance up to see this plaque.

2004  Voted Best of Bucks County, by the Bucks County Courier Times Reader Poll.

2007  April 27th Langhorne Players opened its 60th season.

2011  Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee packed a one-two punch a week apart, washing away the parking lots and flooding the Mill. Over 200 volunteer hours were not enough to keep the curtain up on "Rabbit Hole," which was forced to halt production mid-way through its run.  "Showin' Off, A Benefit for Langhorne Players," is held for the first time.