The History of Swift Creek Mill Theatre In 1663 the present home of our theatre was erected, as a gristmill by Henry Randolph I. Swift Creek Mill is widely believed to be the oldest gristmill in the United States. During the next two hundred years, the “Mill” changed hands many times and operated in various capacities ranging from manufacturing to serving as a distillery of corn whiskey. In 1929, operating once again as a gristmill, the property became know officially as the Swift Creek Mill and remained in operation until 1956. In 1965 the “Mill” was purchased by three local families who shared a dream of bringing live professional theatre to the tricities area. The then vacant and neglected property was refurbished and transformed into a dinner theatre that provided a unique and intimate atmosphere for its patrons. For forty years, the “Mill” has been preserved as both an historic landmark and a cultural outlet for the talent of artists, skilled actors, directors, designers and technicians. The legacy of their efforts lives on with each new critically acclaimed artistic achievement at the Mill. Swift Creek Mill is a Chesterfield County historic landmark, a Virginia Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. From December 1965 until June 2001 Swift Creek Mill Playhouse produced hundreds of live dramas, comedies, musicals and children’s theatre productions for local audiences. Beginning in 1994 however, the corporate nature of live theatre began to evolve as Broadway and the major theatre production markets moved away from the development of plays and musicals that were financially viable and acceptable for local markets. As new, “big name” scripts became rare, small theaters, such as Swift Creek Mill Playhouse faced two options. Either close, as the vast majority of small theaters in the United States chose to do, leaving smaller communities without essential cultural cornerstones, or turn to the community for support under a not for profit corporate banner. In June 2001, the reorganized Swift Creek Mill Theatre Inc. gained it’s 501 c3 status in order to seek needed funding to allow the continuation of the theatre’s mission: to continue the support of local patrons through the presentation of a season of drama, comedy, musical theatre and children’s theatre; to expand and enhance the cultural presence in Central and Southside Virginia; to hire and showcase local talent, providing an outstanding environment for work and professional development; to offer high quality theatre at a reasonable rate; and to offer positive and value driven educational programs for children through theatrical productions and instructional camps. The Swift Creek Mill Theatre, Inc. produces five to six main stage productions per year with weekly performances resulting in 175 offerings per year. This year will mark our fortieth year of producing high quality theatre with the finest talent available in central Virginia. Our critically acclaimed productions have seen such performers as Blair Underwood and Steven Furst move on to exceptional careers in film and television and such performers as Gail Howell, Emily Skinner and Betsy Blanks move on to outstanding Broadway credits. Established Broadway performers such as Betty Ann Grove have graced the Mill stage, finding the Mill an exceptional venue to perform as well. Colonial Heights native Joe Doran is the latest Mill alumnus to move on with great promise. Currently involved in numerous New York projects, Joe is widely recognized as a rising star in the area of technical production.