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Olney Theatre Center


Olney Theatre Center enjoys a rich tradition of bringing quality theatre productions to the community for 80 years.

The theater's founder, Steve Cochran, dreamed originally of opening a straw-hat theater in a relaxing country setting accessible to both Washington and Baltimore. On July 25, 1938, the theater opened its doors for the first time with a production of Ladislaus Bus-Fekete's The Lady Has a Heart, which starred Elissa Landi of "movie fame." Early playbills dubbed the playhouse "The South's First Professional Summer Theatre."

Over the years, some of the biggest names in theater and film have appeared on our stages, including:

  • Helen Hayes
  • Lillian Gish
  • Gloria Swanson
  • Tallulah Bankhead
  • Moss Hart
  • Paulette Goddard
  • Eve Arden
  • Burl Ives
  • John Carradine
  • Olivia de Havilland
  • Hume Cronyn
  • Jessica Tandy
  • Uta Hagen
  • José Ferrer
  • Sam Wanamaker
  • Carol Channing
  • Frances Sternhagen
  • John McGiver
  • Laurence Luckenbill
  • Philip Bosco
  • John Pielmeier
  • George Grizzard
  • Ian McKellen
  • Roy Scheider
  • Chris Sarandon
  • Marcia Gay Harden
  • Uzo Abuda
  • Robin De Jesús