About Magical Theatre Company

Our Mission

To enhance learning, growth and civic improvement through professional theatre for young audiences and families.

Our Core Values

Artistic Excellence

Artistic Excellence using professional theatre practitioners. To achieve this standard of quality, the work is to be presented by trained, experienced, skilled and gifted artists, technicians and employees, committed to both young people and theatre.


Respect for the audience and the material. The programming MTC provides is fundamentally aimed at nurturing the mind and spirit of young people and as such, is to be approached with diligence and integrity.


Sustainability as an organization through excellent management and governance.

History of the Park Theatre

Magical Theatre Company performs professional theatre in Barberton, Ohio’s historic Park Theatre. The Park Theatre was constructed in 1919 as a two-story moving picture theatre and office building. As a movie theatre during the 1950s, Park Theatre had seating for 800 people. This building continued to function as a movie theatre through the 1970s and then became a country music dance hall until its closing in 1985.

In 1985, Barbara Ballance, founder of Akron Children’s Theatre, moved their company to the historical Park Theatre in Barberton. The name of the company was changed to Magical Theatre Company in 1989. From their new home, Holly and Dennis continued the same mission to provide professional theatre for young audiences and families! In 2014, MTC embarked on a successful $2 million capital campaign to perform extensive renovations on its crumbling home. Construction began in May 2015 and a grand reopening was held in December of that year. While the renovated theatre features new seating, fabrics, decor and other design elements, it still gives audiences of all ages the look and feel of a classic, vintage theater – staking claim to its 1919 roots!

Historic Park Theatre

Fun Fact:

Park Theatre’s original marble ticket booth still stands today! During the 2015 renovations, a coin from 1919 to commemorate its building was found inside this booth. When rebuilt, the tradition was carried on by placing two 2015 coins inside the ticket booth.

50 Years and Counting!

Founded as a touring company known as Akron Children’s Theatre in 1972 by Barbara Ballance, Magical Theatre Company began a transformation in 1992 under the leadership of Holly Barkdoll & Dennis O’Connell. We are now a regional entity dedicated to making memorable experiences for kids, families, and schools.

Magical Theatre Company’s resident productions, workshops, touring shows, camps and educational programming are created to introduce young people to theatre, provide positive messages through drama, develop creativity, increase communication skills, build teamwork and offer alternative methods to problem-solving. Our shows and performances reach 50,000 children and their families each year, covering one-fourth of the state of Ohio.

Magical Theatre Company is committed to artistic excellence, employing professional actors, designers and directors – whose credentials include work from Broadway to Hollywood – and is a current member of the Ohio Arts Presenters Network.

The theatre has also been recognized for its excellence by various organizations: in 2019 by Barberton Community Foundation with the Game Changer Award; In 2010 the inaugural Impact Award for Imagination by Peg’s Foundation; in 2003 MTC received two awards for outreach from the Akron Area Arts Alliance and Summit County Housing Network. In 2018, a permanent endowment trust dedicated specifically to artistic excellence was created in honor of Barkdoll and O’Connell’s silver anniversary and reinvention of Magical Theatre Company.

Magical Theatre Company is grateful to be entering its 50th year with you and so many great partners by our side. Thank you!