The Barn Theatre located on M-96 in Augusta, Michigan is the oldest resident summer stock theater in the state. It was founded in 1946 by Jack and Betty Ebert Ragotzy as the Village Players in Richland, Michigan. Their first play was Charly’s Aunt. They were incorporated as the Barn Theatre, Inc. in 1949 and began renting the converted barn in Augusta, which they purchased in 1954. It soon became an esteemed professional Equity summer stock company and is one of only a few remaining in the United States today.
The Barn Theatre has been home to many fine actors, actresses and other theatrical talents. Some of those who have appeared in plays and musicals include Dana Delaney, Kim Zimmer, Tom Wopat, and Marin Mazzie. Barbara Marineau, a Barn veteran, said in a Kalamazoo Gazette interview, "It’s home, and it’s family...It’s an opportunity to do good theater, to play great roles that you may normally not be given the opportunity to play."
Its founder, Jack Ragotzy (1921-2003), wrote, acted, produced and directed at the Barn. A World War II Army Air Force veteran and a 1948 graduate of Kalamazoo College, he also worked at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, Broadway and off-Broadway, as well as in television and films. He received many awards and honors for his work. His wife, Betty Ebert Ragotzy (1923-1995), a professional actress herself, shared in the artistic and management activities at the Barn Theatre. She handled advertising, publicity and administrative duties. Together they established the Barn Theatre as "a premier summer stock company." Their son and daughter-in-law Brendan and Penelope Alex Ragotzy now manage the Barn and are introducing a third generation of Ragotzys to theater life.