My friends and I (all retired from Black Hawk College) like to support local theatre so our most recent visit was to see Arsenic and Old Lace at Playcrafters Barn Theatre in Moline, Ill. Located in the middle of an upscale neighborhood , the theatre was established in 1929 and provides live entertainment throughout the year.
Wondering about the history of this venue, I went to their website and learned that “Playcrafters’ history traces its roots back to the office of Mel Hodges, Municipal Recreation Commission Superintendent Rock Island, Illinois, in the 1920’s, and a group known as Marshall Dramatics. Several theatre enthusiasts in the Quad Cities area of Western Illinois (Rock Island, Moline) and Eastern Iowa (Davenport, Bettendorf) had formed groups to quench their thirst for theatre by meeting to read plays. In 1929 these enthusiasts banded together to stage their own shows under the name conceived by Hodges – Playcrafters.”
The barn itself was purchased for a nominal fee in 1958 with the first stage production, Born Yesterday, at the site in October of 1960. Over the years the barn has been renovated into the theatre that it is today.
On the day that we attended, it was very cold and blustery so the Sunday matinee performance was a perfect way to spend the afternoon. We bundled up and upon arrival were immediately warmed by the casual and comfortable interior of the theatre. (We had not reserved tickets but I would suggest it.) We enjoyed the refreshment area for intermission that serves snacks, drinks and plenty of comfortable seating for conversation. It may have been cold outside, but Playcrafters made us feel warm and welcome.
The stage is surrounded by intimate seating on three sides so that we could choose the perspective of the stage that we preferred. Most of us were familiar with the movie version of the play which starred Cary Grant, so it was fun to see how the director chose to interpret the play.
Playcrafters Barn Theatre
4950 35th Avenue, Moline, IL
309-762-0330 box office or www.playcrafters.com