About the Croswell
In existence since 1866, the Croswell Opera House is the oldest theater in Michigan and one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the United States.
We are preserving Adrian’s cultural heritage by maintaining a building that has played a pivotal role in the community’s history, with programming that’s in line with the building’s original purpose.
We take pride in staging professional-caliber productions in a comfortable community theater setting. The high quality of our productions allows us to draw patrons from around southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.
We provide a top-notch educational experience for area youth interested in the performing arts by exposing them to high standards and production values and giving them an opportunity to work with accomplished professionals in their field.
Mission, Vision & Values
Our Vision: To enrich our community as a leading cultural icon and preserve our diverse heritage.
Our Mission: The Croswell Opera House and Fine Arts Association and its employees will promote and perpetuate the arts. We offer professional growth for artists in an historic building. We motivate all ages to participate in cultural activities. We engage our community and connect people. Our goal is to be financially viable and self-sustaining.
Our Values: We offer a safe and inspiring environment for everyone involved. We enhance their personal growth and promote teamwork. We value and respect each person and encourage collaboration to offer art which our patrons will enjoy and support.
In existence for more than 150 years, the Croswell is the oldest theater in Michigan and one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the United States.
Named for Charles M. Croswell, an Adrian resident and the 17th governor of Michigan, the Croswell has seen more than its share of history. In addition to some of the greatest actors of the 19th century — Edwin Booth, Maude Adams, Otis Skinner, Mrs. Patrick Campbell — it hosted legendary bandmaster John Philip Sousa, not to mention important political figures like Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony.
In the early part of the 20th century, the Croswell became a movie theater, a role it would fill for about 50 years. If you talk to longtime Adrian residents, you’ll find that many memories were made during those days, creating emotional bonds with the Croswell that survive to this day.
By 1967, however, the building’s future existence seemed very much in doubt. Movie audiences were declining, the building was deteriorating, and many people thought the Croswell’s days were numbered. Luckily, a group of civic-minded citizens banded together, purchased the building, and revived the Croswell as a home for live theater — beginning the era we see today.
Today, the Croswell seats about 640 patrons in a beautiful auditorium that has been lovingly restored to the grandeur of its movie-palace days.
Each year’s Broadway season, running from spring through December, features six to eight full-scale musicals. A Special Event Season, running through the winter months, includes several concerts, at least one straight play, and an all-area high school musical that draws students from around southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.