From Barns to the Bard: A Brief History of the Theatre in Sullivan County

This event has been rescheduled for in-person 2022

From the earliest minstrel and vaudeville shows through the world class entertainment offered by the big hotels to the Catskill Mountain Shakespeare Festival and 75 years of summer stock, Sullivan County has long been a training ground for aspiring performers. Here’s a brief look at the history of theater—minus the Borscht Belt comedians—in the area.

This hybrid event will be live at the HPAC Cinema and streamed live online.  Tickets are $10


*In an effort to maintain Covid-19 Safety Standards advanced tickets are required. Limited seating is available and masks required.  Members of a pod can sit together and will accommodated onsite.*

We require all people entering the building to wear a mask unless an individual’s condition meets the definition of a “disability” pursuant to the ADA in which case reasonable accommodations will be made.  This event is available  virtually.

John Conway has been the Sullivan County, NY Historian since 1993. He is a founder and president of The Delaware Company, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote and support the history and historic landmarks of the Upper Delaware River Valley and beyond.  He is the author of nine books (the most recent being In Further Retrospect, released in 2020), dozens of magazine articles, and has written nearly 1,700 weekly newspaper columns on local history since 1987.

Mr. Conway has discussed the history of the Catskills in a number of documentary films, including The Sullivan County Catskills: The Next Act; Seasons at the Lake; and Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation. He appeared on an episode of the Fox Television Network series, Million Dollar Mysteries in 2000, discussing bootlegger Dutch Schultz’s lost Catskills treasure, and recently appeared in the Travel Channel series, Code of the Wild, helping the show’s stars, the Keefer brothers, in their quest to find the Schultz treasure. Other television appearances include two shows on the BBC.

From 1980 to 1994 he hosted a popular call-in radio talk show, and more recently hosted a monthly radio show about local history called The Black Dog Tavern, on WJFF. He is regularly asked to provide a historical context for Sullivan County news events by the New York Times, among others. From 1998 to 2016 he taught a three credit class on Sullivan County history at SUNY-Sullivan. He has since devised a six-week long curriculum on Sullivan County history and typically offers the course twice each year.

Among other things, John is currently Editor-in-Chief of the recently revived Hurleyville Sentinel newspaper.