Board of Directors

Sam Reilly 

President

 

Randi Lant 

Co-Treasurer 

 

Linda Murawski 

Co-Treasurer 

 

Amy Atlas 

Secretary 

Cathy Lee-Visscher

Artistic Director

Mark Schane-Lydon

Tech Director 

Vivian Wachsberger

Membership Chair 

Members-at-Large

Ed Knight 

Amy Hausknecht 

 

The Ghent Playhouse

 

The Ghent Playhouse is non profit volunteer run community theater. Now in its 47th year, the Ghent Playhouse is a fully-functioning, handicap accessible, jewel of a theater in Ghent NY. The Theater is equipped with new comfortable seating, modern accessible restrooms, air conditioning and state-of-the-art air filtration system. The historic Greek Revival building also contains a set shop, dressing rooms, kitchenette, costume storage and sophisticated lighting and sound systems. Drawing talent from all around the Hudson Valley and beyond, the playhouse now presents five diverse productions each year.

Join us this season and see for yourself.

Our History

In July of 1893 the Ghent Town Board purchased land from John H Rivenburgh and his wife Sara for $100. In September of 1893, $1,000 was borrowed from the State Bank of Chatham for the purpose of financing the constructing of the first Ghent Town Hall. By February 24th, 1894 the Town Board had moved into the new structure and called it the “Town House.” In 1910 the Electric Light Company of Chatham installed the first eclectic lights in the building at a budget “not to exceed $20.” At the 1915 September town board meeting, the board agreed to build a large addition on to the back of the building to house a stage. One dance was held to raise money to build the stage extension on the rear of the building. The addition of the stage allowed room for more dancing down on the floor, and a place for performances by the local Ghent Fire Department and Ghent Band. In 1933 even the traveling “Gibbs Vaudeville Show” rented the space on their tour through town. In 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial the town board purchased two oak trees, the committee planted them on either side of the building with a commemorative plaque in front; both the trees and the plaque remain today. By the late 1980s the town had more than outgrown the small and outdated wooden building, at which time housed both the Post Office as well as all of the town offices. In 1987 the town vacated the building, moving their offices up 66 into the larger (now vacant) former Ghent school - leaving the town hall empty.  

Meanwhile, in 1974 a group of young actors formed the Columbia Civic Players, a nomadic theater group that would perform wherever and whenever space was available - in auditoriums, churches and even local restaurants! In 1987 under the direction of Barbara Perry, the "players" were able to lease the former Ghent town hall and renamed it The Ghent Playhouse. Following several years of fundraising, construction and renovations to the building, the first show, "Carnival," opened in January 1989 in the new theater - free of charge as to all of the new neighbors in Ghent. In 2001 the building was officially purchased from the town and after a successful capital campaign an extensive construction and upgrading program began. This project added much needed additional space back stage; dressing rooms, storage and new public restrooms. That same year the Columbia Civic Players became officially known as The Ghent Playhouse, Inc.. Today The Ghent Playhouse continues to thrive and has become a celebrated arts organization in the region. During the 2020 Covid19 pandemic the community once again rallied behind the organization raising enough money to keep the theater going during its 20 month closure. Additionally the theater was able to upgrade the HVAC system with a new state-of-the-art air filtration system, allowing for a safe and successful 2021 reopening season!