The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Designed in 1938, the auditorium in "the old high school" (now the Richard E. Venus Municipal Center) was at one time the center of Ridgefield's cultural life. In its heyday, before being abandoned in 1972, it was home to school performances as well as community events and town meetings. During World War II, residents had the privilege of twice hearing the legendary Arturo Toscanini conduct here.
In its new life, The Ridgefield Playhouse has been designed to embrace its former role and more. The interior preserves the hall's excellent acoustics that make it an ideal venue for musical performance and live theater.
At the same time, retractable draperies cover the walls enabling the "deadening" effect needed to show movies. Thanks to a generous legacy from Patricia Schuster, founder of the Ridgefield Studio of Classical Ballet, the stage was built to have the resilience necessary for dance performances. Parts of the old stage rigging have been preserved and supplemented to enable use of the stage's large fly space. Stage lights and a state-of-the-art sound system have been installed.
Echoing the importance of the town of Ridgefield in the theater's life is a hand-painted mural covering the lobby walls with familiar scenes of historic Ridgefield. The mural, a gift from a Ridgefield couple, was created by a local artist. Other murals enliven the interior of the performance area as well as the entryway to The Playhouse; all were gifts of Playhouse supporters.