Garfield Center Named One of Maryland’s 10 Best Live Theatres


Two weeks ago an online announcement proclaimed what those of us familiar with the Chestertown’s Arts & Entertainment district already know: The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre is one of the top ten venues in the state of Maryland for live theatre. The “Best Things Maryland” website listed the historic community theatre alongside the likes of Baltimore’s Hippodrome and Center Stage, as well as the Avalon Theatre in Easton.

The Garfield has come a long way in recent years to earn this title. Since it’s doors first opened as a vaudeville theatre in the late 1920s, the building has undergone many transformations. Many of the area’s residents fondly remember when it was known as The Prince Theatre. As a movie theatre until the 1980s, you could grab your popcorn and watch Batman with live bats flying around your head. In 2001 the theatre reopened (and the bats moved out) as a community space for live plays. Then in 2011 after a generous donation from Matt Garfield and The Kohl Family, the lobby was thoroughly renovated and The Garfield Center for the Arts was born.

Chestertown native Tess Hogans, who has managed the theatre since 2014, writes, “When I started at the Garfield, there were only a handful of events every few months and we didn’t have our programming planned very far in advance.”

Now Chestertown residents and tourists alike can count on a different reason to come to the theatre almost every weekend. The Garfield proudly sports a full annual season of theatrical plays, a “Roots” concert series, summer theatre camps for children, an annual jazz festival, free open mic nights, hosts multitudes of community events, film screenings, and recently hosted performers from Broadway’s Hamilton and Hairspray for an evening fundraiser.

There has never been a better time to be a fan of the arts in Chestertown. Stop by and visit this Eastern Shore gem in the heart of Chestertown’s Art & Entertainment District to see for yourself.

For tickets or more information about the Garfield Center, go to or call the box office at 410-810-2060.

Letters to Editor

  1. Mary Wood says:

    The Church Hill theatre ,only 10 minutes from Chestertown,also a former movie theater , has been producing top flight plays & musicals longer than the Garfield. It also features a program for Children – The Green Room Gang

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