The Belmont Theatre

  (Redirected from York Little Theatre)

The Belmont Theatre, formerly York Little Theatre,[1] is a community theater in York, Pennsylvania founded on February 5, 1933, as part of the Little Theatre Movement.[2][3][4][5]

The Belmont Theatre
Former namesYork Little Theatre
(1933–2016; 87 years ago)
Address27 S. Belmont Street
York, Pennsylvania 17403
 United States
Built1949 (1949) (as Elmwood Theatre)
Opened1953; 67 years ago (1953)

Early yearsEdit

The theatre initially borrowed space from the local Women's Club, the York Collegiate Institute, and the local YWCA. Its first full-length performance was Lady Windermere's Fan at the Phineas Davis School Auditorium on December 14, 1933.[5]

After two unsuccessful attempts at securing its own real estate, the theatre acquired a permanent home at the Elmwood Theatre, a former cinema built and opened in 1949. After a lease-purchase agreement was signed in July 1953, the theatre gained title to the building seven years ahead of schedule in May 1956.[2][5][6][7]

Leadership and growthEdit

Bert Smith was artistic director from 1953 until 1982.[8] Eric Bradley Long was artistic director until 2010.[4] Lyn Bergdoll became artistic director in 2012.[9]

A 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) addition to the theatre was completed in 1997, after more than $1 million was raised under the leadership of Henry Leader, brother of former Pennsylvania governor George M. Leader.[5]

After 2012, the theatre recovered from its own major financial crisis suffered in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–08, paying off debts and making long-overdue improvements to the building and stage equipment.[4][10]


According to the executive director, the theatre was renamed after its street in mid-2016 due to a migration of the former name's meaning. While "little theater" originally connoted "community theater", it has more recently been applied to "children's theater" or "smaller productions".[7]

The theatre's most enduring fundraiser has been an annual food stand at the York Fair, at which steak sandwiches are sold. The stand was started in 1957 by Betty Gerberick and run by volunteers. A partnership with the local Roosevelt Tavern began in 2017 to operate the stand from 2018 onward.[11]


Notable theatre alumni include Rebecca Wisocky[12] and Sam Freed.[13]


  1. ^ Cotter, Sean Philip. "York Little Theatre changes name". York Dispatch. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b "YLT History". York Little Theatre. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  3. ^ Bergdoll, Lyn (20 February 2015). "Bringing Broadway to Belmont: York Little Theatre celebrates 82 years". York Daily Record. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Landauer, Bill (18 December 2010). "York Little Theatre eliminates three positions". York Daily Record. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Bergdoll, Lyn (31 August 2017). "From YLT to the Belmont: 85 years of community theater". York Daily Record. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Elmwood Theatre". Cinema Treasured. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b Freireich, Gordon (1 June 2016). "YLT renamed The Belmont Theatre". York Daily Record. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  8. ^ McCracken, Erin (20 August 2012). "Remember: York Little Theatre". York Daily Record. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  9. ^ Woodall, Cansy (19 August 2012). "Bergdoll to take helm of York Little Theatre". York Dispatch. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  10. ^ Hughes, Ellen (15 September 2014). "'Grease' opens new era at York Little Theatre". The Patriot-News (Harrisburg). Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  11. ^ Machinski, Anthony J. (12 September 2017). "What's the future for York Little Theatre steak stand at the York Fair?". York Daily Record. Gannett. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  12. ^ Central PA (11 August 2013). "York actress Rebecca Wisocky brings experience as a villain to Lifetime's 'Devious Maids'". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  13. ^ McClure, Jim (23 January 2008). "YLT + YSO + 75 years = A1 entertainment". York Town Square. Retrieved 12 September 2018.

Coordinates: 39°58′20″N 76°41′41″W / 39.972117°N 76.694755°W / 39.972117; -76.694755