In the spring of 1959, ten members of an adult education speech class, taught by Maxine Adkins, proposed to organize the first community theatre in Anderson, Indiana. Each person paid $10 for a lifetime membership, officers were elected, and a season of three plays were presented that summer in the Anderson High School auditorium. With that, the Madison County Dramatic Players was born.
The following summer, due to the growth of interest in membership, the Madison County Dramatic Players moved to the Geeting property at the end of East 10th Street and presented a season of plays in a rented tent. Thanks to the generosity of the late Robert Geeting, a new circus tent was purchased, and the players began to be known as the Geeting Summer Theatre. The theatre brought some well-known local television personalities to the area, including Frances Farmer Kay Field, and Jack Kelly of the Maverick series.
A pole barn was eventually erected on the site to provide more security as the theatre began to accumulate lighting, properties, and costumes. Theatre membership grew and reached out into the entire county. Realizing that the theatre building rested on leased ground, the board of directors began an intensive campaign to save money in order to purchase a more permanent home.
In 1983, the group bought a warehouse at 124 West 9th Street, paying $40,000 in cash. A mortgage was also placed on the property in order to secure additional funds for remodeling the structure into a theatre with a proscenium stage, green room, orchestra pit, concession stand, and raised seating. The Mainstage Theatre opened as the permanent home for the Madison County Dramatic Players in 1984.
As one of the oldest, self-supporting community theatres in the state, Mainstage presents six performances from March to November. To this day, Anderson Mainstage Theatre’s mission is “to unite community through an all volunteer performing arts experience, to bring culture and enthusiasm to Madison County through live entertainment, and to educate and bring awareness of live theatre to Madison County." Without the numerous volunteers of present day and of times before, and the hearts and hands of the founding members of the Madison County Dramatic Players, Mainstage would not be the home that so many people have come to love and cherish today.
CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS