Amish Acres, in Nappanee, Indiana, is home of the Round Barn Theater. Several musicals and plays rotate through its nine month performance season; with Plain and Fancy being their most popular. Plain and Fancy has been performed annual in the Round Barn Theater since 1996 and draws thousands of visitors each season. In addition to the professionally produced shows, Amish Acres offers guests vacation packages including their famous thresher’s family-style dinners and overnight accommodations at the Amish Acres Inn. Here’s a look at what the Round Barn Theater has to offer.
DISCLAIMER: I was provided with theater tickets, dinner, and a night’s stay by Amish Acres to review their offerings. As always, honest opinions are all my own.
The Round Barn Theater at Amish Acres
Originally built in 1911, the round barn was deconstructed and moved to Amish Acres in 1991 where it was rebuilt. The Round Barn Theater features 360 seats split between the main floor and balcony; providing excellent views and a comfortable space close to the stage.
The main stage, named in honor of Plain & Fancy writer Joseph Stein, features plenty of space for actors to move around within the scene and props to be wheeled in and out for quick scene changes. Actors use microphones to amplify their voices and the barn’s dome shape adds to the sound quality.
A concession stand in the lobby sells snacks for unbelievably low prices for a theater and guests are allowed to bring their treats into the performance. The lobby connects to one of Amish Acre’s main retail shops, so visitors can wander through while waiting for a performance.
Round Barn Theater Productions
The Round Barn Theater at Amish Acres attracts professional actors from across the country and features the only resident musical repertory theater company in Indiana. The nine month season, which runs April through the end of December, features half a dozen plays and musicals each year. An afternoon and evening show are held most days, which means guests can see two different productions in one visit. In addition to the main productions, plays and summer camps are offered for children.
The Round Barn Theater is the National home of Plain & Fancy. The Broadway musical was introduced in 1955 and has been performed here annually since 1996. The show typically runs from mid-May through mid-October as part of the nine month long season. This lively peak into Amish daily life and customs is an enjoyable combination of singing, subtle comedy, and a solid story.
During my visit I enjoyed performances of both Plain & Fancy and Anne of Green Gables. As with other live performances, the actors really put their individual stamp on the characters and how the tone of the story. The actors at the Round Barn are experienced and create a wholly natural feel to the characters they play on stage. The coziness of the barn and frequent scenery changes bring viewers right into the imaginary world.
I watched one play from the balcony and the other in main floor seating. Both provided clear views of the actors, though some of the background scenery may be difficult to see from the balcony. The sound quality is excellent. The actors are wired for microphones, though I wonder if the barn’s dome shape alone would be enough to carry their voices. After the performances, a few actors were on hand to speak with guests; a nice personal touch.
Amish Acres Vacation Packages
Amish Acres offers much more than just the Round Barn Theater productions. The site itself is a former Amish farm and tours are available so guests can learn more about the Amish and visit buildings on the property. The courtyard next to the theater features a few shops where you can watch candy made, purchase local Amish crafts and foods, or enjoy a meal between shows. The Thresher’s dinner is served family-style and features a hearty array of home cooking.
Overnight accommodations are available at the Amish Acres Inn. Various packages including show tickets, dinner, and farm attractions are available to make the most of your stay and save a bit of money. A one or two night stay is perfect for catching a couple musicals, touring the farm, and exploring downtown Nappanee.
For more information on upcoming Round Barn Theater performances, ticket packages, and accommodations, click here to visit the Amish Acres website.