The Playhouse was a gift from Lord and Lady Beaverbrook to the people of New Brunswick in 1964. The only performing arts facility of its kind in the province at that time, it served primarily as a road house for touring artists. Local amateur productions were also commonly staged at the 1000-seat venue.
In 1969, Walter Learning (the Playhouse’s Director at the time) established Theatre New Brunswick (TNB), the only professional English-speaking touring company in Canada, and the Playhouse became TNB’s home. The facility was renovated in 1972 to expand technical capabilities and improve audience-to-performer relationship, or intimacy. The fly tower and box office were added at this time and the auditorium size was reduced to a capacity of 763 seats.
In 2000, the facility came under the ownership and management of Fredericton Playhouse Inc. With a renewed mandate to provide the Greater Fredericton region with a variety of performing arts experiences and a venue for local productions, the facility returned to its original mandate — albeit with a more local rather than provincial focus. Fredericton Playhouse Inc. is a charitable non-profit corporation and is managed by a volunteer board of directors.
In the years since, the building has undergone a number of significant upgrades including new technical production equipment, new seating (the auditorium presently seats 709), washrooms, furnishings, concessions areas, and other upgrades. Theatre New Brunswick moved its offices and production facilities to a new location, providing additional room for other touring and local productions.
Today, the Fredericton Playhouse operates as a professional performance venue available for local, national, and international artists and companies. It also presents touring artists as part of its own professional series and offers a comprehensive education and outreach program. It has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions from the Canadian Arts Presenting Association, the East Coast Music Awards, and the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.