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Looking for a cozy theater experience in a fun, local setting? Look no further than the Red Barn Theatre in Rice Lake, WI.
Located just outside Rice Lake on the corner of Highway 48 and County Road M, this small, intimate playhouse is a real treat to theatergoers.
Housed in a beautifully remodeled barn, the Red Barn Theatre combines rustic charm with top-notch performances, making it a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike.
History of The Red Barn Theatre
The Red Barn Theatre was founded in 1961 by Nina Klauss, a professionally trained, theater-loving mom of five. Performances began in the gym of Saint Joseph School in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.
In 1962, the non-profit theater group officially became known as the “Hardscrabble Players.”
They started gaining recognition for their community theater productions and built a loyal following. The group eventually felt the need for a permanent, dedicated performance venue.
In 1967, the Hardscrabble Players made the move to their current location: a solid little barn constructed in 1904. (This would become known as The Red Barn Theatre.) It quickly became a hub for local talent, hosting a wide range of productions ranging from classic plays to musicals and comedies.
Over the years, the Red Barn Theatre has received numerous renovations and upgrades to improve its appeal and function.
Today, The Red Barn Theatre is a hugely popular attraction in the Rice Lake community. It continues its mission of promoting theater arts in Rice Lake and providing a space for local artists to showcase their talents.
Unique Features of The Red Barn Theatre
Haven’t been to the RBT yet? Here are a few more interesting tidbits:
Local Artists: With every new production, the Red Barn Theatre’s lobby features work by a different local artist. So visitors get to not only enjoy a theatrical performance but also the local art community.
Intimate Experience: With a small seating capacity of about 125, the Red Barn Theatre provides an intimate experience for its audience. The on-stage entertainment always feels up-close and personal. No matter where a person sits, there are no bad seats in the house.
Downstairs Lounge: Before the show, visitors can head to the downstairs lounge to enjoy refreshments including sodas, snacks, beer, and wine. Attendees can enjoy the unique setting and socialize before the performance begins.
A/C Alert: Heads up, the Red Barn Theatre does not have air conditioning! Its rustic walls aren’t insulated (you can actually see daylight between some of its boards), so consider yourself warned. If it’s hot outside, it’ll be hot inside. If it’s a little chilly, you might be, too. Dress accordingly!
Red Barn Theatre Schedule 2024 (Summers Only)
As always, the 2024 Red Barn Theatre schedule is filled with a sizzling sample of summer selections. Comedies, dramas and toe-tapping musicals – there is truly something for everyone.
This range of genres is what keeps audiences coming back for more. The constant rotation of entertainment keeps the theater fresh and dynamic, encouraging repeat attendance.
Audiences know they can count on the Red Barn Theatre for a unique and special experience at every visit. Here’s the 2024 show lineup with a quick description of each:
May 29 – June 8: Deathtrap (MYSTERY/COMEDY) – Written by Ira Levin, “Deathtrap” brilliantly blends thriller and comedy for a hugely entertaining experience from start to finish.
June 19 – 29: Be My Baby (COMEDY)- John & Maude, opposites in their 50s, travel from Scotland to CA to fetch an adopted baby, learning about life & love on the way.
July 10 – 20: Gypsy(MUSICAL)- “Gypsy” is a musical journey through the ups and downs of show business, seen through the eyes of Mama Rose and her two daughters, June and Louise.
July 31 – August 10: The Honky Tonk Angels (MUSICAL) – A toe-tapping musical about three gutsy women who are strangers at first but share a common dream of country music stardom.
August 21 – 31: Escanaba in Love (COMEDY) – Wrapped in family traditions and simpler times, this touching comedy shows the youthful romance of Albert Soady Jr. and his efforts to win the love of his life.
Red Barn Theatre Auditions: Showcasing Local Talent
The Red Barn Theatre is known for showcasing local talent in the performing arts. Actors come from as close as Rice Lake and as far as Duluth, MN and beyond.
Each year around January or February, auditions are held for the upcoming summer plays at the University of Wisconsin, Barron County Campus Theatre Building.
People of all ages, backgrounds and experience are encouraged to audition – and they do! This keeps the cast fresh, interesting and diverse.
In addition to actors and directors, The Red Barn Theatre heavily relies on volunteers to bring their productions to life. Backstage roles are always needed and are essential to keep the theater running smoothly.
Non-performing roles include clean-up, costumes, light booth operation, makeup, musicians, production coordinator, props, publicity, repairs/handyman, set construction, set design, set painting, snack barn worker, sound booth operation, stage lighting, stage manager, ticket booth sales, and usher.
Red Barn Theatre Tickets: Don’t Miss the Magic
Don’t miss out on the magic of live theater at the Red Barn Theatre! With a 2024 single ticket priced at only $20, it’s an affordable way to enjoy quality entertainment.
Love the theater and want all the shows? Then grab a season ticket at just $78 – a super deal!
Tickets are available online, at many local businesses and at the RBT box office. Ticket reservations can be collected at the box office until 7:15 on performance nights.