A look at the history of New Hope’s Bucks County Playhouse

NEW HOPE, Pennsylvania — The Bucks County Playhouse opened in 1939 in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

The old gristmill was a haven for Broadway actors seeking to escape the heat of New York City theaters that lacked air conditioning.

The Summer Theater has been the starting point for many great actors, such as Liza Minelli, Robert Redford and Grace Kelly.

By the 1970s, when Broadway switched to central air, the rise of the Summer Stock Theater movement was over and theaters began to close.

Bucks County Playhouse remained in operation until 2010 when it declared bankruptcy and was about to close.

Broadway producer Jed Bernstein saw the potential of the theater and, with the help of the Bridge Street Foundation, was able to transform the theater.

Today, the theater still attracts big names and presents popular performances while providing opportunities for budding directors and actors.


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