Sight & Sound Theatre
Sight and Sound Theatre
Sight & Sound Theatres has been described in many ways: "the largest faith-based live theatre in America", "the Christian Broadway", "one of the top three theatre destinations on the East Coast"...and the list goes on. Each year, about 800,000 people come from around the country and around the world to experience a production at one of Sight & Sound's two theatres in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Sight & Sound Theatres, which exists to visualize and dramatize the Bible, began as an organization nearly thirty years ago, but its roots go even deeper. Founder Glenn Eshelman, a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, began to develop his gifting as an artist as a young child on his family's farm. His landscape painting led to his initial career in photography, taking Glenn and his wife, Shirley, across the country.
As they received requests to share Glenn's scenic photographs, Glenn and Shirley searched for a unique means of presenting them. They produced their first multimedia slide show utilizing a single slide projector and a screen, along with a turntable and microphone to provide sound. Thus, Sight & Sound Ministries had its earliest roots in Eshelman Studio, many years before the first theatre opened. By 1975, the Eshelmans had produced four multimedia shows and had traveled to churches, schools, and civic organizations across the U.S. showcasing these inspirational productions.
During the summer of 1975, they rented the Lancaster Bible College auditorium for ten weeks, presenting their newest production, The Wonder of It All, to approximately 30,000 people. The overwhelming success of those ten weeks provided enough seed money to purchase three acres of land located along Route 896 in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. In July 1976, the Sight & Sound Auditorium (now the Living Waters Theatre) opened its doors for the debut performance of Land of Our Own. Live actors were eventually added to the productions, and Behold the Lamb debuted as the first full-length live stage production at the original Sight & Sound Auditorium in 1987.
As the productions grew in scale and the public desire to attend outpaced ticket availability, it became apparent that a larger theatre was needed. In March 1991, the Sight & Sound Entertainment Centre opened within a mile of the original theatre, which was renamed Living Waters Theatre. Under its new name, Living Waters Theatre featured a multimedia experience combining artistic lighting, special visual and audio effects, and innovative fountains of water that can perhaps best be described as "liquid fireworks", all in the context of narration.
A new chapter began in 1997 after a devastating fire destroyed the Entertainment Centre. The theatre itself, along with the majority of equipment and sets and half of the shop and storage buildings were destroyed, but there were no injuries. With the encouragement of many, the all-new Millennium Theatre opened in September 1, 1998, with an even greater capacity to bring timeless Bible stories to life. Featuring more than 2,000 seats, a 300-foot stage that wraps around three sides of the audience, and the latest in sound, lighting, and technical capabilities, the new facility opened the door to expanded and improved productions. Concurrently in 1997, the Living Waters Theatre was also renovated to bring live stage productions back to Sight & Sound's original venue.
Sixteen inspiring productions have come to the Sight & Sound stages over the years such as Colors of Praise, The Splendor of Easter, Joys of Christmas, The Eternal Flame, The Miracle of Christmas, Noah the Musical, Abraham & Sarah a Journey of Love, and Daniel and the Lions' Den.
Behold the Lamb returned in the spring of 2004 with new scenes and new staging. Noah the Musical returned for one season only in the summer and fall months of the same year. Ruth debuted at the Millennium Theatre in May 2005, and Psalms of David premiered in the Living Waters Theatre in June 2005. Fulfilling a long-term vision of Glenn's, In the Beginning opened at Sight & Sound Theatres on March 30, 2007. This epic show recounts the creation of the world and the early generations of man featuring an elaborate recreation of the Garden of Eden. Also premiering in 2007 in the Living Waters Theatre, Voices of Christmas, provides an exhilarating journey through the many treasured traditions of Christmas, with all of your favorite Christmas carols, toe-tapping dances, live instruments, and thought-provoking stories.
In May 2008, Branson, Missouri welcomed the inaugural "voyage" of one of Sight & Sound's all-time favorite productions, Noah - the Musical! Our brand new, state-of-the-art, 2000-seat theatre opened its doors to the public and has quickly become a favored destination of Branson audiences. Noah - the Musical returned to the stage in 2009 for a seven-month season, followed by the exciting premiere of our heartwarming family tradition Miracle of Christmas.
Text from sight-sound.com
People and Places