Huntington Beach Playhouse
The Huntington Beach Playhouse offers a wide variety of live theatre experiences to the community. We present dramatic, comedy and musical productions and offer opportunities for people of all ages to advance their stagecraft and technical skills.
We also depend on many volunteers to support the theater and provide internships for students in their pursuit of education in the dramatic arts.
Huntington Beach Playhouse is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. That means your contributions can be tax-deductible! Your help is greatly needed, so why not give to support the arts in your community today?
The Board is elected annually by those who have joined the Voting Membership, which is open to interested individuals by submitting an application. If accepted, these Voting Members will be required to pay a fee of $50 per year.
In addition to the Board of Directors we depend upon the support of Volunteers to assist us with specific programs, fundraising, set construction, back stage help, Tech help, work in our Annex facility & office help, and ushering for shows. This group of Volunteers is called the "Friends of the Huntington Beach Playhouse". If you would like to join our growing Friends of the Huntington Beach Playhouse, please call our Office at (714)-847-4357, or emailing Huntington.Playhouse@verizon.net
Friends of the Huntington Beach Playhouse requires a simple application to join so we can accommodate your interests as best we can, and is FREE to join! To join the FOTHBPH, please call the above phone number, or email the address provided.
Huntington Beach Playhouse
New Venue Location:
8251 Heil Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683
7272 Saturn Drive, Unit C, Huntington Beach CA, 92647
HB Playhouse Staff
Betty Greene-Box Office Mgr
Nancy Standeford- Asst Box Office Mgr
Board of Directors
Secretary –Barbara Ahumada
Board of Directors
How it all began
It all started in 1962-63, when a Citizen's Advisory Committee was organized to assist the mayor with planning for growth in Huntington Beach, which then was known as the "fastest growing city in Orange County." A cultural committee was organized and community theater was discussed as something for the future, after other more urgent problems were solved. But one of the committee members, Helen Susman, was anxious to get going and she invited anyone interested in forming a community theater group to meet at her home on February 28, 1963. Nine people showed up and on that evening Huntington Beach Playhouse received its name, its officers, its projects, and its tomorrows. The first General Membership Meeting was held on March 11, 1963 at which time the group grew to 24 members. It was decided that the first play to be performed would be the Mary Chase comedy, "Harvey". To raise funds for royalties and facility rental, Francis Merriman, the Treasurer, hosted a benefit luncheon and fashion show at the country club. With the profits from the luncheon and loans from several board members, Harvey was produced and performed on June 27, 28 & 29, 1963 in the Music Room of the Huntington Beach High School.
The next play was George Kelly's famous character study, The Show Off, performed during September/October 1963 in the Music Room of the Huntington Marina High School. Following that was Roman Candle which was performed on January 10, 11, 17 & 18, 1964 at still another location, the Memorial Hall in downtown Huntington Beach. A great success followed in April/May 1964 with the Ayn Rand courtroom play, The Night Of January 16th. The appropriate location was the Municipal Court and the play ran 4 weekends. We were becoming quite a hit and it soon became apparent that a real home was needed for the Huntington Beach Playhouse.
On The Move
It wasn't long before the General Manager of the Huntington Beach Company, Mr. Edmund Hartsook, offered HBPH the use of "the barn" on Main Street, with lots of parking space and great potential. A community landmark, it was just what the name implied: an old barn complete with a white owl and families of pigeons perched in the rafters gazing down on the humans huddling in blankets for board meetings and rehearsals. Stalag 17 was the first production and every playhouse member worked to convert the barn into a thrust stage theater with risers on three sides. By opening night, July 24, 1964, the essentials were there; seats, painted walls, dressing areas and primitive lighting. The barn's interior ruggedness offered a good atmosphere for the show's prison camp setting. There was one necessity that was really primitive; a portable chemical "Johnny" was set up down the hill. But, the public came, saw, and was completely conquered; community theater had "arrived" in Huntington Beach! Performances continued in the barn until 1976 when it was lost to redevelopment. Between 1976-78, HBPH performed dinner theater shows at the Hyatt Hotel on Pacific Coast Highway in Seal Beach.
In 1978, we relocated to the Seacliff Shopping Center, across the street from where the old barn had stood, and we renovated a storefront building. HBPH opened its doors again with a cute little comedy/farce, Boeing, Boeing, directed by Phil de Barros. As progress would have, in 1986 we found ourselves searching for another home. With the help of many dedicated volunteers, Board members and friends, we were able to secure the then vacant Gisler School, which we maintained until 1993.
A Home At Last
In the early '90s, after many meetings and lots of negotiation, we were able to persuade the City of Huntington Beach to include a theater in the new Huntington Beach Central Library. And we worked out a long-term agreement (20 years) with the City to rent that location for our theatrical performances. In 1994, we opened our season with Neil Simon's, Rumors in the new Central Library Theater. The show was an instant success and was voted the Patron's Choice for 1994! Since that time, we have continued to use the Central Park Library Theater for our main stage productions, and have often used the outdoor Central Park Amphitheater for Shakespeare in the Park productions.
With our vibrant new Board of Directors at the helm, we have begun to reinvigorate HBPH with an energy and drive to keep the Huntington Beach Playhouse fresh and relevant. We’re constantly striving to produce the highest quality plays and musicals that can be found on a community theater level. We are thankful to have such a welcoming community and look forward to producing even more dazzling productions with your spectacular talents!