The Barn Players Theatre looking for new home; lease on Mission building runs out at end of 2017

The Barn Players will present its 61st season in 2016.
The Barn Players Theatre is looking for a new home by the end of 2017. File photo.

The Barn Players Theatre is looking for a new place to call home.

The community theatre is losing its lease on the building at 6219 Martway in Mission that has housed the productions since 2004. The theatre currently has a lease with Mainstream Credit Union, owner of the property, through the end of 2017. “We’d love to stay in northeast Johnson County,” said Vida Bikales, president of the board for The Barn Players. “We’ve really made inroads into the community.” Season ticket holders have tripled since 2010 and in the last couple of seasons have sold out more than not, Bikales said.

The building seats 163 for performances. “It’s a nice intimate size,” Bikales said. “We want to keep the intimacy.” Finding a new home with seating of 200 to 250 would be ideal, she said. A new building would need to be ADA compliant, allow for unobstructed views, have restrooms and have parking options.

The Barn Players would consider a lease or purchase of the right space. The group does not plan to relocate before the end of 2017.

The theatre needs to find its new home before it can apply for grants or start a capital campaign, Bikales said. The county’s King Louie building was one option that was explored, she said, but restrictions on number of days for a single group would force a shortened program.

The Barn Players now stage six adult shows plus one benefit show, two to three weeks of Barn Kids and a Barn Junior (middle school) production. It also has the 6X10 Festival of original local plays each year.

Actors are not paid and the board members are volunteers. The Barn Players 11 annual programs include hundreds of people among the actors, production crew and the student programs.

“They’ve really plunked a lot of money down in supporting us,” Bikales said of Mainistreet. The Barn Players have not paid rent for the building, but have funded some maintenance items.

The Barn Players was started in 1955 by Earl Altaire. From 1955 to 1971 its home was a renovated barn near 83rd and Mission that had once been the home of Larwin, the 1938 Kentucky Derby winner.