Way back in 1977, a Weeping Water English teacher wanted a way to showcase the theatrical talents of her students. She asked a farmer near Manley, Nebraska if they could turn his old hog barn into a theater. He said yes and the Lofte Community Theatre was born...right in the middle of a cornfield.
There was no electricity and no running water but there was a whole lot of charm, Kevin Colbert says, "We had a great time putting it on, the stage was small but the atmosphere was intimate." Colbert was involved with the very first production, "It's been my life since 1977." Colbert has now been the artistic director for 25 years.
Anne Pope also fell in love with The Lofte early on, "I came out here as quick as I could once I got my driver's license." It's where she met her future husband and where in 2006, she had to say goodbye to a building full of memories.
Ann says local donations along with a USDA loan helped help build this two million dollar barn-like structure, "When we got into this space we were amazed with the amount of space we had."
The stage is 3 times as big and there are 150 more seats. They now put on five productions throughout the year. Over the past 33 years, the "Born in a Barn Players" have performed in front of a quarter of a million patrons.
Anne says, "It makes me so proud to just be down here and be able to contribute, these people are so great. They're so friendly, they're just the best, they're my best friends."
The Lofte Community Theatre puts the wraps on their 131st production this weekend. They will bring "Lie, Cheat and Genuflect" to life this Thursday night through Sunday afternoon.