The Barn Theatre School, A Professional Equity Theatre

Barn Theatre Family 2014

The Barn Theatre School For Advanced Theatre Training was created to administer to the participating Apprentices a program of instruction, training, and practical experience in the preparation and presentation of theatrical productions. The School will also endeavor to bring Theatre to disadvantaged and underutilized youth, thus providing the possibility of creating the stars of the future by encouraging the youth of today.

The Board of Directors of The Barn Theatre School of Advanced Theatre Training is comprised of volunteers who are local business owners, community leaders, and devotees of the Barn Theatre. The Board of Directors and the Honorary Board of Directors provide support, guidance and inspiration to The School and its mission.

History Of The Barn

Barn Theatre 1949

The story began in 1946 when Jack Ragotzy, Betty Ebert and a tightly knit group founded the Village Players. After mounting their first few seasons in a former Methodist church, the Village Players moved into a dairy barn purchased by Jack and Betty, which became the Barn Theatre. The Barn Theatre has since built a reputation as one of the finest professional Equity summer stock theatres in the country.

Each season young “Apprentice” actors pursuing a career in professional theatre have a chance to learn the craft of theatre production and act at the Barn Theatre with accomplished professional actors who belong to the Actors Equity Association and guest artists who have worked on Tony Award winning Broadway or Emmy Award winning television shows.

Shortly before her death in 1995, Betty Ebert Ragotzy took steps to create The Barn Theatre School for Advanced Theatre Training, a nonprofit theatre education organization she dreamed would formalize the Apprentices’ education at the theatre. The Equity Membership Candidates (EMC’s) earn points towards joining the union, while their Apprenticeship studies are devoted to all aspects of professional theatre production: set construction, lighting, costuming, properties, stage management, and more.

Today The School is healmed by seven Board Members who seek to carry on this rich tradition and inspire generations of “Barnies” to come!

Community Memberships

We are also a member of Theatre Kalamazoo, which celebrates the live theatre community in and around Southwest Michigan.


Board of Directors

William J. Schroer

John Gallagher
Vice President

Bethany Gilmore

Kristin Kubicek

Dr. George Ellis

William U. Parfet


School Staff

Brendan Ragotzy
Producing Artistic Director

Penelope Ragotzy
School Dean

Board Members

E. Faye Butler

Kirker Butler

Jennifer Garner

Ronald N. Kilgore

Russell G. Mawby

Robert Newman

Dusty Reeds

Kim Zimmer

Help Continue A Tradition

Help us continue the tradition by donating to The Barn Theatre School for Advanced Theatre Training.
Your donations will support the training of current and future apprentices!