Interior of the Old Farman Theatre
The brick building with the Irving Opera Hall on the third floor was built in 1853 or 1854. The lower floors were rented out to store keepers and offices. It was very difficult to carry scenery up two flights of stairs for the shows. When "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was shown, there was a parade from the post office around what would be the Monument by 1878 and back. A dozen wheezy horns and drummer with two bloodhounds on a leash trailed behind..
It cost ten cents to sit in the balcony. When the lower floor was half full, the gas lights would be turned on. The gas was turned on back stage and escaping as made people cough in the audience before the lamps were lighted. Some of the other productions were "Rags" and "East Lynn."
Because of the danger of fire and only one stairway and being on the third floor, it was condemned for large crowds. It was torn down in 1966.
The Farman TheatreThe Farman Theatre was built in 1903 as a community enterprise. "The Gentleman from France" was the first attraction billed at the newly built theatre. In those days, gentlemen did not absent themselves between acts for a smoke in the lobby or to catch a "quickie" at an adjoining bar, they sat stolidly in their seats.
The theatre was a financial failure so it was sold to the Village in 1911. Later the owner of the Oatka Theatre a movie house rented the Farman for showing of movies. It was later leased to the movie industry. Graduations of the High School were held in this theatre until it was made into a motion picture theatre.
Many Home Talent shows were put on in this theatre. The barbershop singing organization, S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. put on a show each year bringing in noted quartets from the surrounding states. One quartet from Warsaw which received many honors was the "Oatkans." They represented the New York District at the International Contest five different times.
The Old Farman Theatre was dismantled and rebuilt betwen 1944 and 1945. The big stage is now gone and the balcony and box seats vanished. Any stage plays or minstrel shows or musical shows are held in the School auditorium. Excerpted from Quasquicentennial, 1968.
Click here for more information on E.E. Farman.
The basement of the old Farman Theatre was also used as a lockup. Click here for more information.