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The Oak Street Playhouse

Since the late 1970s, The Oak Street Playhouse has been providing family entertainment and cultural enrichment. Located on the second floor of First-Centenary at the corner of Oak and Lindsay Streets, The Playhouse has become what June Hatcher, former Entertainment Editor of the Chattanooga Free Press, wrote, "A gem of a theater in downtown Chattanooga," which includes a spring play and a popular December Dinner-Theatre that draws audiences from across Tennessee.

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Upcoming Shows

2024 Season

Coming Soon

Anne of Green Gables

September 27th - October 6th

Adapted from L.M. Montgomery’s beloved novel of the same name, Peter DeLaurier’s Anne of Green Gables follows the story of the feisty orphan, Anne Shirely. Adopted from an orphanage in Nova Scotia by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, Anne Shirely’s acclimation to life in Avonlea isn’t exactly smooth sailing. The Cuthbert siblings wanted a quiet boy to help out around their farm, but instead they recieve Anne, a redheaded, freckle-faced, free spirit who turns their lives upside down with her quirky behaviour. Follow Anne as she navigates school, friendship, and life in Avonlea through this charming coming-of-age tale. Anne of Green Gables is sure to warm the hearts of audience members, both old and young.

A Christmas Carol

December 6th - 15th

In a festive mood, the ladies of the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society mount another assault on the classics with their stage version of A Christmas Carol. They enthusiastically portray a dizzy array of characters from the Dickensian favorite (and a few which aren't), engineer some novel audience participation while bravely contending with an intrusive PA system and a real Farndale first rap their vocal cords and feet around two original, show stopping songs.This is another one column text block.

The Oak Street Playhouse Puppets

Fred Arnold, creator and producer of the puppet theater at First-Centenary, decided in 2010 it was time to retire his puppets and his shows after a nearly 30-year run. He had retired several years earlier as director of the shows himself. Many of his puppets were sold and the profits given to the church.
His show "The Blue Bird" is now owned by onetime puppeteer Colleen Laliberte, who has produced the show. He has continued to work with Colleen and has produced a new show for the stage on Signal Mountain.

Our History

In the 1970's, when people in Chattanooga were flocking to the suburbs, First-Centenary United Methodist Church took a giant leap forward with a decision to expand their facilities to become a more viable force in downtown Chattanooga. In the plans were blueprints for a theater, suggested by Flo Summitt, a church member. Senior Minister Dr. Ralph Mohney envisioned a drama ministry and in 1978, with the completion of the new wing, the theater was a reality. Located on the second floor, the theater was really only a large room: a stage with just one entrance and no curtain, a long wall banked with stationary picture windows that extended up to the stage, and a limited number of stage lights. But it was a theater!

The first play presented in 1980 in the newly named Oak Street Playhouse was The Trial of Pontius Pilate, an interesting choice in which a jury, selected from the audience each night, decided the fate of Pilate. The director was Nancy Lane Wright, a member of First-Centenary and artistic director of the Dance Theatre Workshop in Chattanooga. Flo Summitt became the producer and Robert Smartt designed the lighting and sound. The play ran two nights and there was no admission charge. The following year, Fred Arnold came on board as set designer and as creator/director of the Oak Street Playhouse Puppet Theatre.

Now, years since it's beginning, like an acorn, Oak Street Playhouse continues to grow with its mission of providing outstanding family-style entertainment and cultural enrichment.

Throughout ensuing years, helped by generous donations and efforts of the Playhouse volunteers, carpeted risers were built, windows were closed in, a stage curtain hung and new lights and light board installed. Suzanne Smartt became the Artistic Director in 1992. The Playhouse produces a variety of productions: dramas such as Ibsen's A Doll's House, classic comedies like Harvey, musicals such as My Fair Lady and 1998's season's run-away favorite, The Moving of Lilla Barton, winner of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Southern Writer's Competition.

The Playhouse today has become what June Hatcher, former Entertainment Editor of the Chattanooga Free Press, wrote, "A gem of a theater in downtown Chattanooga," which includes a spring play and a popular December Dinner-Theatre that draws audiences from across Tennessee.

The Playhouse holds open auditions with casts of actors from both Tennessee and North Georgia. By invitation they performed Camelot before thousands at the 1989 International Methodist Men's Conference held on the Purdue University campus and their production of The Rainmaker competed at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in 1991.