About Mitchell Performing Arts Center
The dream began in the 1980’s when a group of theater enthusiasts in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania collaborated to dream up new visions of a community theater. Among this group was Mimi Mitchell, longtime supporter of the performing arts and drama teacher at both the Academy of the New Church and College. In addition to being one of the major benefactors of the project, Mimi contributed her substantial enthusiasm and theatrical experience to the project.
The Mitchell Performing Arts Center (MPAC) was built through major renovations to the Academy of the New Church’s “Assembly Hall.” The original building (circa 1929) was a combination stage/gymnasium typical for many church and educational facilities of the time. Much of the original structure can be seen in our theater today. Though the orientation of the stage was flipped 180 degrees, the original proscenium arch stands at the back of the house. Visitors enter the lobby and proceed from what was originally ‘backstage’ (and a gym with basketball hoops!) through the arch and into the auditorium.
Thanks to a great abundance of dedication and support from Mimi Mitchell, the Asplundh Foundation, and the local theater community, MPAC opened with its inaugural performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” to a full house on January 31, 2002.