Mayo Performing Arts Center

The Community Theatre, erected in 1937, was originally the crown jewel of Walter Reade’s New Jersey movie theatre business. So did America’s Golden Age love affair with film. The film Nothing Sacred premiered on December 23, 1937. A Morristown institution for four decades, the Community Theatre was the town’s first first-run movie house. Browse around this site.


By the 1980s, the Theatre had deteriorated and stood vacant for over a decade. However, things changed in 1994 when an army of dedicated volunteers united to preserve the Theatre from extinction.


On September 29, 1994, the Theatre reopened as a performing arts center with a gala performance by the Kirov Orchestra of Saint Petersburg and pianist Alexander Slobodyanik, a Morristown native. Many volunteers publicly sobbed when the Theatre’s resurrection came to pass.


The South Street Theatre Company was founded in January 1995 to buy and rebuild the Theatre. The degree of programming increases with time. From 1997 to 2000, a capital campaign was launched to support the Theatre’s extensive refurbishment and renovation. The theater, lobby, bathrooms, plaza entrance, and a piece of the fa├žade were all renovated for $7.5 million. Art Upstairs Gallery was created in 2004 in collaboration with the Center for Visual Arts (now Visual Arts Center of New Jersey) to showcase the work of New Jersey artists. After two workshops in March 2005, it became an official school in September 2005, which presently trains approximately 650 students (2016) in musical theatre and acting.


After a four-year, $7 million “Setting the Stage” capital campaign, the Theatre now has an orchestra pit, a state-of-the-art fly rail system, modern dressing rooms, and central air conditioning. The capital campaign also enabled the Theatre to complete its teaching studios, providing lessons to both children and adults. After a three-year changeover, the Theatre was renamed Mayo Performing Arts Center in May 2011. There was a new box office, a lift to the balcony, refurbished and extended toilets, and new nor bar and snack stalls in 2014, a new Starlight Room in 2016. The League of Historic American Theatre named the Theatre an Outstanding Historic Theatre in July 2016.


The Mayo Performing Arts Center is currently in its 27th season and annually offers over 200 shows for over 200,000 people.


All are welcome to attend performances at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. MPAC presents the world’s best entertainers, New Jersey-based creative groups, and developing exciting new artists to our area with over 200 events, including classical music, contemporary dance, theater, and popular music. In addition to delivering cultural enrichment for young audiences, MPAC is devoted to improving public awareness of the arts via arts education and community outreach activities. The arts should be accessible to everybody, we believe. Call 973-539-8008 for more information.