Gretna Theatre

One of south-central Pennsylvania’s few professional theatres, and one of the oldest summer theatres in America, Gretna Theatre is located in the arts/resort community of Mt. Gretna, PA where theatre has been produced at this same location since 1927! The original Playhouse dates back to 1892 when it was built as the centerpiece of the newly-created Pennsylvania Chautauqua.
The Playhouse, known originally as the Chautauqua Auditorium, was designed by John Cilley, a civil engineer from Lebanon, and completed in July, 1892. With fewer events being held in the Auditorium, the Chautauqua Board of Managers contacted A. E. Scott, an actor and director from the Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, and suggested that Scott start a summer theater in Gretna. In the spring of 1927, the necessary alterations were made to the Chautauqua Auditorium to provide stage and dressing rooms and the first season of theater at Mt. Gretna opened in mid-June. Over the years, The Playhouse survived many natural disasters, including several major hurricanes, but the winter of 1994 proved to be too much for the 102-year-old structure. On February 12, its roof buried under an estimated 150 tons of snow, collapsed.

By the summer of 1995, a new Playhouse was complete. Gretna Theatre, which produces the seasons of summer stock theatrical shows, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which rents the Mt. Gretna Playhouse for its productions and works in conjunction with the professional unions of Actors' Equity Association and Stage Directors and Choreographers. Many Broadway stars have performed at Gretna Theatre - including Bernadette Peters, Charlton Heston, Faith Prince, Laurie Beechman, and Sally Struthers.

Gretna Theatre

Mt Gretna Playhouse, 451 State Route 117, 2FL P.O. Box 578, Mt Gretna, PA 17064-0578

  • PHONE: (717) 964-3322