Looking for a cozy theater experience in a fun, local setting? Look no further than the Red Barn Theatre in Rice Lake, WI.
Tucked away in the country, this small, intimate playhouse offers 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 must-visit 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: One very cool thing about the Red Barn Theatre is that in its lobby, every production 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 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. Patrons 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 2023 (Summers Only)
As always, the 2023 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 2023 show lineup with their official press descriptions:
May 31 – June 10: Lilies of the Field (DRAMA) – “While traveling, handyman Homer Smith stops by a farm where he is welcomed by a group of Catholic nuns who have emigrated from Germany. At the farm, Homer takes on several repair projects for the women, who are led by the headstrong Mother Maria. Impressed by Homer’s kindness and strong work ethic, the nuns come to believe that he has been sent by God to help build them a chapel.”
June 21 – July 1: It Runs in the Family (COMEDY)- “Set in a hospital, It Runs in the Family contains the usual assortment of farcical nuts running in and out of doors mistaking everybody for someone else, as Dr. Mortimore tries to fend off a paternity suit, an ex-wife, a punkish daughter and various other lunatics so that he may, at last, deliver the Ponsonby Lecture in an international conference.”
July 12 – 22: Curtains (MUSICAL)- “It’s the brassy, bright, and promising year of 1959. Boston’s Colonial Theatre is host to the opening night performance of a new musical. When the leading lady mysteriously dies on stage the entire cast and crew are suspects. Enter a local detective, who just happens to be a musical theatre fan! Packed with glorious tunes and a witty, charming script filled with delightful characters, Curtains is a hilarious journey for both performers and the audience. The Broadway production garnered 8 nominations at the 2007 Tony Awards® including Best Musical.”
August 2 – 12: The Wild Women of Winedale (DRAMA) – “The sisters of Winedale are at a crossroads. Fanny has an odd reaction to her 60th birthday. Willa is stressed to the point of vodka and speed-knitting. Johnnie Faye is determined to find a man. Together, they find a way to clear the clutter from their lives and prove it’s never too late to take another one of life’s paths.”
August 23 – September 2: Forbidden Broadway (MUSICAL COMEDY) – “In this long-running Off-Broadway hit musical revue, Broadway’s greatest musical legends meet Broadway’s greatest satirist in this hilarious, loving, and endlessly entertaining tribute to some of the theatre’s greatest stars and songwriters.”
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 January, 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 2023 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.
For all the details, visit the RBT official website page here. Grab your tickets now and prepare for a memorable experience.
Conclusion: It’s A Wrap
Make sure to catch a performance at the unique Red Barn Theatre. Step into the world of performing arts and be a part of the magic. It’s local theater at its best!