In the Beginning...
Our original theater, located inside Old Bedford Village, was built in the late 1970s using logs gathered from old structures found throughout Bedford County. During the first performances in the theater, lighting and sound equipment options were basic at best and the audiences sat on bales of hay. As the years went by, the Players made many improvements adding to the audience’s theater experience.
Then in 1983, through the hard work of a group of local volunteers and the direction from a talented and inspiring couple, Priscilla and Harry Gardner, the Bedford County Players were formed.
The Gardners, with their years of theater experience to draw from, came to Bedford with a dream and definition of Community theater. "An involvement of people of all ages and walks of life, who energize their talents in various phases of the theater under inspired direction.
The purpose of such a group: "To enrich people's lives with fellowship, cultural development, and artistic accomplishments."
Unfortunately, on July 16, 2018, the Gardner Memorial theatre, located at Old Bedford Village, tragically burned. Taking with it, much of our equipment, props, and set pieces. The volunteers of the Bedford County Players, with their never-ending support of one another and their love for the theatre, banded together to begin rebuilding their sets and working with local organizations to continue bringing quality performances the people of Bedford County.
For the next few years, the Bedford County Players continued to bring the arts to Bedford County by performing in a variety of 'unconventional' venues. With the loss of the theatre, AND the 2020 COVID pandemic, the Players had quite a challenge ahead of them! Together they were able to come up with some pretty original places to put on productions for their loyal patrons. No venue was too much, or too out-of-the-box! From the Bedford County Courthouse, to the Bedford Fair Grounds, to a live online streaming performance. Nothing was too much for the imagination and creativity of the BCP!
2020 - 2021
In June 2020, the United Methodist Church in Centerville, which is approximately 15 miles south of Bedford on Route 220, went up for auction. The Bedford County Players had the winning bid on the Centerville site and on July 27th, 2020 the Bedford County Players closed on their new home.
The building cost about $80,000 (including auctioneer and closing costs) and we could use the building “as is” with small productions for a while until enough money was secured to start renovations. The building was already heated/air conditioned, had cushioned seating and was handicap accessible, but there was still a lot to do before it could be used for performances.
Our immediate lists for remodeling included putting in another bathroom on the first floor, enlarging the parking area, modifications to the space where the stage would go among many other necessary improvements.
In the months that followed the Players worked dilligently cleaning, moving items both in and out of the new space and making plans toward the ultimate goal of turning the church space into a functioning theatre!
2021 - 2022
Home Sweet Home!
In mid 2021 various remodeling efforts started and by early 2022 the actual 'theatre' construction began and we were on our way!
In June 2022, we were finally able to open our doors to our patrons for the first performance in our new venue; Boeing, Boeing. It was an absolute success, and also a great learning experience for us as we navigated through the challenges of our new space. On July 21, 2022 the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce helped us to commemorate our new location with a celebratory Ribbon Cutting ceremony.
The BCP hosted 4 shows in their new home for the 2022 season; Boeing, Boeing, Blithe Spirit, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Nuncrackers: The Christmas Musical!
The Bedford County Players and their new venue was open and here to stay!
Onward & Upward
The Bedford County Players, nearly forty years later, continue the dream of Priscilla & Harry Gardener and to build upon that definition of a Community theater. Many of our members from the 1980's are still involved with the group, along with their children and grandchildren. New members, over the years, have brought their talents to the Players and made our group larger, stronger and more diverse. Actors and Technical crew members, from ages 5 to 85, have added their skills and varied abilities to our productions, allowing us to broaden our repertoire of shows and to continue the mission Pricilla & Harry put into practice all those years ago...to entertain our loyal patrons and enrich our own lives.
We greatly appreciate the ongoing support our loyal patrons have shown us by continuing to attend our productions
Many people across the world enjoy the arts in one form or another. That includes our little historical town of Bedford, Pennsylvania. The arts are alive and well within our community and the Bedford County Players have been making sure of that for many years.
With annual productions just for youngsters, the Players are able to help kids grow to love live theater. From the first time they hit the stage, they are infected with the "love of the stage" that only comes with live theater. They continue to grow with each performance, then before you know it, they are the ones molding minds! It is important to the Players to continue to educate the young and to continue bringing joy and laughter to audiences for many years to come.
BEDFORD COUNTY PLAYERS MISSION STATEMENT:
Our mission, as a community theater, is to provide an inclusive
environment through fellowship, cultural enrichment, and artistic expression.