This is Greenbrier Valley Theatre's 40th season! We are a live performance theatre and much more. GVT is involved in all aspects of the arts and humanities, with people of all ages. Here is a brief history of our amazing journey:
From its 1966 productions in a tent alongside the Greenbrier River to Actor's Equity affiliation in a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Lewisburg, the Greenbrier Valley Theatre has adhered to the founders' concept: quality live theatre centered around a core of professional actors and directors with opportunities for members of the community to learn stagecraft.
For our first three years, we performed in a tent beside the Greenbrier River. After performing in various borrowed spaces, in 1976 a temporary structure was erected on property loaned to us by the Greenbrier Valley Airport Authority. The facility, known as The Barn, was funded by the Benedum Foundation and built by dedicated volunteers. It served as our home for the next 21 years. During this time, through thick and thin, GVT pushed ahead, developing the framework of a regional cultural institution by hiring a full-time Artistic Director and Managing Director and a seasonal company of professional actors and technical staff. We began to blend a trained cadre of community-based actors into the resident company and orchestrate vigorous intern (college-age) and apprentice (high school) programs. Our programming also began embracing a full season of plays including experimental new works, a very successful after-school drama program, a summer camp for youngsters, classes, literary readings, special events performances, art appreciation activities, lectures, discussions, and workshops.
Knowing that our temporary facility would not last forever, we searched for a permanent home, and in 1994, purchased the vacant Leggett's Department Store in downtown Lewisburg - a vital step in providing year-round live theatre and classes in a safe, comfortable and accessible setting. We began renovations in 1999, and in 2000 we moved into our new home. We raised a section of the roof to create flexible theatre space eliminating support columns to provide an unobstructed view. We also: created a spacious, attractive lobby for our patrons; created classroom/studio space; upgraded existing building systems to accommodate the demands of live theatre; and met all federal, state and local codes including accommodations under the American Disabilities Act as well as the expectations of theatre professionals.
For 40 years, Greenbrier Valley Theatre has enjoyed the support of a loyal community whose nurturing has developed a vigorous, professional organization with a vision to establish GVT as a significant regional performing theatre. In March 2006 GVT became the Official State Professional Theatre of West Virginia.