History

Footlighters’ Theater is a non-profit theater that has provided quality, affordable entertainment to the Main Line for more than 80 years!

Footlighters Theater is considered to be the oldest community theater on the Main Line.

The group organized in Wayne in 1929 when T. Baynard Beatty, principal of Radnor High School and himself, an experienced drama enthusiast, held an open meeting for those “whose interest centered on mutual entertainment and the development of dramatic abilities.”

The response to the suggestion of forming a “little theater” was enthusiastic and community people who believed that “all the world’s a stage” came ready to tread the boards, build the sets and man the lighting booths.

The infant organization was immediately sponsored by the Saturday Club of Wayne, a local woman’s club. Since they (Footlighters) had no official home, they were invited to make the Saturday Club their headquarters.

The group staged its first production , a one-act play The Last of the Joneses on Feb.18, 1930. It’s first full length production was Icebound which debuted on May 9, 1930. Other plays done that first year included The Little Stone House, A Matter of Husbands, Drums of Oude— titles that have passed into obscurity.

Berwyn United Methodist Church had purchased a lot extending from Church Avenue (now Main Avenue) to Waterloo Road  in Berwyn. Ground was broken for the new building in 1887.  It was completed and officially dedicated as the Berwyn M. E. Church in 1888. Many additions and improvements were made to this church between its dedication in 1888 and its eventual sale to the neighboring Trinity Presbyterian Church in 1961.

Footlighters  moved to Berwyn in 1973 and leased the building for ten years. In 1983 they began a Capital fund drive to purchase the building which they successfully completed in 1984. Over the years improvements have been made to the building such as air conditioning and new windows, but it still retains its original charm. The theater boasts an intricately carved beamed ceiling and a spectacular original stained glass window has been preserved.