It’s been a while since The Belfry Theatre has had a stage production. The community has been asking about Belfry shows, and how soon they'll get back into the local theater schedule.
The Belfry’s last stage performance was the holiday show in December 2020 at Noblesville First United Methodist Church.
I’m here to tell you that The Belfry is getting ready for the theater’s 57th season.
You may already know that Hamilton County Theatre Guild, which operates The Belfry, is the oldest operating theater in the county.
Typically, there is a summer youth production by The Belfry’s Apprentice Players. Each year, the show alternates from ages 5 to 13 to ages 13-20, every other summer. This year, there isn’t a kids show.
However, the community is invited this Saturday to bring their lawn chairs and blankets to the Hamilton County Courthouse Square in downtown Noblesville, for “The Belfry Apprentice Players Have Talent.” The theater’s summer youth talent show will be at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The talent show will feature youth ages 5-18 performing their favorite talents, from singing to playing musical instruments and more. James H. Williams, a Belfry director, who has taken over the youth productions after the passing of director Connie Murello-Todd, will be organizing the talent show.
Admission is free to attend. Picnicking is invited.
For more information, email apprenticeplayers@gmail.com or visit https://thebelfrytheatre.com/and BelfryTheatreIN Facebook page.
The history of The Belfry goes way back. In July of 1965, a collection of Noblesville residents who enjoyed gathering to read plays decided it was time to take their passion to the next step. That summer, Anne Braswell, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Campbell, Mrs. and Mrs. Robert Kraft, Mr. and Mrs. John Kyle, Shirley Pritchard and their leader, the Rev. John Burbank formed the Hamilton County Theatre Guild. The following February, an audience of more than 500 gathered in the “Cafetorium” of Noblesville High School to witness their first production, which was “Ah, Wilderness!” This production was quickly followed by four other productions which formed the guild’s pilot season of 1965-1966, according to The Belfry’s historical information.
The group didn’t anticipate such a large and appreciative audience, nor did they realize that a long list of successful productions would follow, they said.
In December of 1968, the Hamilton County Theatre purchased the former home of the Emmanuel United Methodist Church at Greenfield Avenue and Union Chapel Road in Noblesville. The next year, the building was improved with the addition of a septic system, stage lighting and added space on the west side which included restrooms. With these improvements The Belfry building was ready for its first production, “The Odd Couple,” directed by John Foland in February of 1969.
It was in the late 1970s that the east side of the building was expanded to include a lobby and a “green room” for cast and crew. More improvements were made in the mid 1990s to include a board room for theater business, dressing rooms, and workshop. The improvements were paid for in large part by a fundraiser with entertainment supplied by The Sounds,” made up of Elaine Wagner, Betsy Bullis, Susie Townsend, Jack Hittle, Bill Dix, Rob Lawson and others. I remember that singing group well. There is still a great photo of the group in Elaine Wagner’s music room.
The continued success of the Hamilton County Theatre Guild is directly related to its audiences, patrons, sponsors, and season ticket holders who have supported production through the years.
And if you’ve read this far in my column, I will tell you that the community will find out more about the 57th Belfry season and some of the shows that will be in the season when they attend Saturday’s free youth talent show on the Square. Otherwise, look for more details about the season in an upcoming announcement in August.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.