Happy 100th Birthday Sampson Theatre/Penn Yan NY

Today the community celebrates the 100th birthday of the SAMPSON THEATRE in Penn Yan, NY.  Tucked in the lush countryside of the Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York State, this darling little farm community has come together to restore and reuse a 100 year old landmark.   Check out their website at www.sampsontheatre.org

Although the building is not yet ready to be occupied, much activity surrounds it as the Penn Yankee Theatre Company (PYTCo) work to raise the funds to restore the charming theater for their home stage. 

Sampson Theatre History

The Sampson was the first building in the area constructed solely for the purpose of presenting theater productions. The original seating capacity was 923; 413 on the orchestra level, 210 in the balcony and 300 in the cheap seats in the second balcony. This second balcony was accessible only by a set of narrow steps outside, and it will not be used in the renovation. There were 12 box seats on the side walls. The theatre had eight dressing rooms and could handle any large New York stage production of the time. In fact, it was better suited to large productions than most theaters in Elmira and Rochester, because it had such a large stage and loft area.

The Sampson Advisory Board, an ad hoc committee of PYTCo, has a mission statement that reads: “…to renovate the Sampson Theatre Building in order to provide a forum for Penn Yan and surrounding communities, focusing primarily on theater and arts while offering a venue for varied activities to benefit diverse groups of participants and audiences.”

To learn more read the article by Brian Cerow, from the Chronicle Express Summer Issue 1984.

Sampson Advisory Board

  • Grace Knapton, 315-536-8216, Knapton@linkny.com
  • Kent Salisbury, 315-595-6141, Kent.Salisbury@gmail.com
  • Additional members: Karen Colizzi Noonan, Patrick Falvey, Freeman B. Freeman, Gladys Kjar, Dean Knapton, Linda Lefko, Peg Patterson, Gary Pinneo, Sandi Perl, Michelle Radcliffe, Anne Salisbury  and  Sara Thompson

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  1. Another website with descriptions and photos of the Sampson Theatre can be found here:

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