ESU Summer Theatre

The oldest continuously-running summer stock theatre on the Great Plains was created by Dr. Karl C. Bruder at Emporia State University in 1955.

Until 1967, ESU Summer Theatre was presented in Albert Taylor Hall and from 1955-1958 featured an astounding 8 shows in 8 weeks! The usual format for the next 21 years (1959-1979) was 6 shows, and since 1980 the current format of 4 shows has been the norm.  Audiences are drawn from cities and towns throughout Kansas and from throughout the region. Hundreds of former ESU students have benefited from the intense training that only a summer stock experience like ESU Summer Theatre can provide. And literally tens of thousands of loyal audience members have thrilled to the outstanding entertainment provided by ESU Summer Theatre.

Summer 2016.  The 62nd season of outstanding summer theatre. 

  • June 15-18       Coming to America - An American Vaudeville (Musical revue)
  • June 29-July 2  The Dinner Party (A comedy by Neil Simon)
  • July 13-16        Don't Dress For Dinner (Rollicking farce by writers of Boeing, Boeing)
  • July 27-30        The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Funny family fare)

Our season represents a yearlong selection process by our faculty, our students and you—our audiences. We hope that you will join us to support our talented students and guest artists.  Our new season features four titles new to ESU stages.  And we are happy to have several alums return in prominent roles.  We are excited for another memorable season of quality theatre.

We believe that summer theatre is a vital performing arts activity in the Flint Hills. You also know that the costs of putting on a summer season of plays continue to rise. As you enjoy this summer theatre offering, we hope that you will take a moment to consider a gift to ESU Theatre.

We encourage angels to offer a gift to the Butcher Summer Theatre Fund. As this fund grows, we can better meet the growing costs of producing live theatre and help to underwrite the work of our student artists—the heart of ESU Theatre. You can contact the ESU Communication and Theatre office at 341-5256 or, the ESU Foundation can talk with you about the many ways you can contribute. With your help, we hope to provide live theatre every summer for many years to come.


Jim Bartruff, Director
ESU Theatre