The Vagabond Players and Robroy Farquhar

A historical view of the Flat Rock Playhouse. Image from the New York Public Library.On June 17, 1961, the Flat Rock Playhouse in Henderson County’s village of Flat Rock was named the state theater of North Carolina. The venue is home to the Vagabond Players, the oldest Equity acting troupe in the state.

The ensemble formed in 1937 in New York City under the direction of Robroy Farquhar. In 1940, the Vagabond Players made their way south to North Carolina and performed for two summer seasons in a converted grist mill–the Old Mill Playhouse–near Highland Lake.

Following World War II the troupe resumed performing in a schoolhouse near Lake Summit that had been renovated into a theater for use by the Carolina Players.  In 1952, the Vagabond Players purchased a lot in Flat Rock and began staging plays under a 50-by-85-foot tent erected on the site.

The current playhouse, built in 1956, seats 500 people. Through the years, tens of thousands have enjoyed performances. Proclaimed as one of the top summer theaters in the nation, the Flat Rock Playhouse is where many actors, actresses, directors and stagehands have honed their craft. 

Today, the Flat Rock Playhouse season runs 9 months from April through December, and features drama, musicals, comedy and children’s performances.

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