The Origin of The Legacy Theater
The Legacy Theater proudly celebrated its fifth year in Carthage, IL, in 2021 offering quality live entertainment and educational programming for the tri-state area. How The Legacy Theater began is an interesting saga.
The Legacy Theater has a long history as part of two prominent educational institutions that began here in Carthage: Carthage College (CC) 1870-1962 and Robert Morris College (RMC) 1965-1989. The building that is now The Legacy Theater was completed in 1953. The facility was used by both CC and RMC for their music and drama departments, for graduations, for movies, for large meetings, and CC used it as their Chapel. RMC renamed the building Bryan Auditorium.
After the departure of RMC in 1989, came a series of owners who let the campus fall into disrepair including Bryan Auditorium. In 2007, Prairie Land Investment Group purchased the campus and in 2008 gifted Bryan Auditorium to Carl Sandburg College (CSC) which operated a branch campus in Carthage. CSC district passed bonds for capital improvements and renovated the Auditorium renaming it Thomas A. Schmidt Charger Community Center.
In 2016, CSC sold the auditorium property to the City of Carthage. That same year, The Legacy Theater Foundation Inc. was formed and a rebranding process began. The foundation made additional improvements, creating a more valued asset for the region. The Legacy Theater’s mission is to bring a varied schedule of outstanding live entertainment to the area.
The theater now seats 525 including the balcony, which seats 80, plus offering space for serving food and beverages for social gatherings. Back stage facilities include men’s and women’s dressing room, a “green room,” plus a back stage area with double doors opening to an elevated loading dock for ease of moving equipment in and out of the theater.
The Legacy Theater’s mission is to Inspire, Enrich, Educate and Entertain.