The Maplewood Barn Association, doing business as the Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, is a section 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization, and registered with the Missouri Secretary of State.
The mission of the Maplewood Barn Association is to provide high quality, live community theatre to mid-Missouri audiences in an informal, family friendly, outdoor setting in historic Nifong Park. The purpose and mission have remained unchanged since the theatre’s founding as a City-sponsored initiative in 1973.
Nifong Park in Columbia, Missouri was established in the 1960’s as a historical garden park, with emphasis placed on cultural and historical activities. The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department’s Master Plan of 1968 included a suggestion for use of the park’s Barn as a “performing arts center.” This suggestion ultimately led to the formation of the Nifong Steering Committee, which in turn formed a fundraising and programming advisory committee in 1973.
Later that same year, the Nifong Steering Committee approved the formation of the Maplewood Barn Theatre Committee. The theatre committee’s mission, ultimately brought to fruition with performances beginning that summer, was to establish a theatre in the community that could serve family audiences, and to make a place for the performing arts in the facilities of the Parks and Recreation Department, thus enhancing the appeal of Nifong Park and encouraging the respectful use of the park and its historic buildings by the community.
On April 5, 2010, a fire consumed the 133-year-old barn structure we called home, along with most of the theatre’s possessions, including lumber, costumes, set pieces, props, and tools. A new Barn rose from the ashes of the old one, in what came to be known as our Phoenix Season. The new building was opened and dedicated in 2012 with a production of Fiddler on the Roof. This was the beginning of many memorable performances in our new home.