Historical Attractions

Great Plains Theatre Abilene

Where is it at?

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Great Plains Theatre
300 N Mulberry
Tel: 785-263-4574


From I-70 get off at Exit 275, head S on Buckeye or Hwy 15, until NW Third Street, turn W (right) onto NW Third Street. Go until Mulberry (about 4 blocks), Theatre is on the N (right side). Parking in SE and SW corners of the intersection and up and down Mulberry.

Where are we going today?

The Great Plains Theatre was opened in 1995 by Richard Esvang and Michelle Meade. Prior to their endeavor of opening a Professional Theatre in Abilene, Kansas, Richard and Michelle were living in New York City working as actors, writers and directors.

The idea of opening a theatre in Abilene came when Richard and Michelle made a trip to Kansas to visit friends who ran a Bed & Breakfast in Abilene. The quaint town seemed to provide a unique location for a Professional Theatre. Richard and Michelle wanted to create a new kind of theatre, something that was exciting and new in a town known for Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Chisholm Trail. The theatre would be a place for actors to grow and stretch their abilities in an open environment. A combination of professional actors from across the country and local talent would make up the casts for each show.

Richard began the process of reaching out to civic organizations in the community about opening a non-profit theatre. The supportive community welcomed the idea.

The next challenge was finding a building to house the theatre. Michelle spotted an ideal location, a historic structure that was formerly a Presbyterian Church. While away fulfilling an acting contract in Florida, Richard and Michelle received great news. Local businessman Terry Teitjens was willing to purchase and renovate the building. The Great Plains Theatre now had a physical home: The Teitjens Center for the Performing Arts. The theatre opened in the summer of 1995 with a production of The 1940′s Radio Hour followed by four other productions. Audiences were intrigued and have since come from all around the state and region to see what the theatre, the Premier Professional Regional Theatre in Central Kansas, has to offer.

In August of 2008, the Great Plains Theatre officially changed its name from The Great Plains Theatre Foundation Company to Great Plains Theatre, Inc. GPT also formed the Great Plains Theatre Foundation to provide more flexibility in its fundraising to secure the future of the theatre forever. Both the Great Plains Theatre, Inc. and Great Plains Theatre Foundation are 501c3 not for profit agencies.

Also in August of 2008, the Great Plains Theatre Foundation purchased the physical building that houses the Great Plains Theatre from owner Terry Tietjens. The diligent work of several GPT Board members and the Tietjens Foundation ensured the longevity of the theatre’s livelihood in Central Kansas, ensuring the continued efforts to bring Professional Theatre to the Heartland. The Great Plains Theatre is proud of its accomplishments and looks forward to a bright future.

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How much does it cost?

  • AdultsVaries
  • ChildrenVaries

Teachers corner

The Great Plains Theatre offer Educational Productions to schools at a discount and during school hours. Please call for details!!.

I'm Hungry!

Many wonderful restaurants to try in Abilene!! Call 800-569-5915 for a list or email [email protected] Or for a group rent Dieter Concert Hall and have lunch catered in before your show or just for fun..

Doing our bit

Our Education program is blossoming. It’s important to acknowledge the great impact that being a part of the Plain Great Players – our youth group – has had on so many young people. Not only learning skills on stage, but also socially, our youth get various opportunities to grow in a supportive atmosphere. Volunteers are important to GPT. Whether it be in the concession stand, taking tickets, or handing out programs, volunteer help is always appreciated. Financially we will always need your support. Money can be a struggle for us, but with your tax-deductible donations we are able to keep going. No amount is too large or small. If you are interested in making a donation or would like to help GPT financially please contact us. For more information or to ask us a question, please don’t hesitate and give us a call or write us an email. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, all the while improving and modifying along the way and hope you will enjoy what we have to offer – Thank you!.

More information

The actors and actresses are professional and come from all over the USA!! The only "Live professional theatre between Kansas City and Denver and even North Dakota and Oklahoma!!" Come and enjoy the shows!!.

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