The Next Stage - Thank You!

We are very excited about our new venue!  We recently moved just a block west on Arch street from our previous location. 

The left set of pictures is when the work began and the "The Next Stage" fundraiser party. The right set of pictures is from our "Thank you" party to celebrate the completion of the building.

Click on a photo in the slideshow for a larger image.



Our Mission

Performing Arts Center on the Square will nurture artists, technicians, administrators, volunteers, and audience members by providing opportunities for them to study and enjoy the art of theater. It will have a significant impact on the level of arts participation in the community by undertaking a wide range of artistic endeavors.

Center on the Square is a non-profit, 501(c )(3) corporation dedicated to the expansion and appreciation of the performing arts in the region. Our organization is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, a division of the Arkansas Department of Heritage, the National Endowment for the Arts, and is a member of the Arkansas Community Theater Association.


Staff and Board

Rose Breckenridge, Administrative Executive Director and Kitchen Manager

Wendy Neill, Creative Executive Director


Board of Directors

  • Carla Fuller, Chairman

  • Amy Smith, Vice Chair & Fundraising

  • Justin Lawson, Treasurer
  • Shari Adcock, Secretary
  • Janette Parks, Administration
  • Mark Brackett, Fundraising

  • Rebecca Boaz, KidStage


  • Jason Coleman, Facilities
  • Mindi Greer, Events

  • Cathy Liles, Events

  • Nancy Liles, Events

  • Montana Wallace, Production

  • Cheryl White, Marketing



Our Story

On August 20, 1999, a performance of Neil Simon's 'Rumors' opened for an audience of 55 people at 111 Arch Street in Searcy, Arkansas, and a great tradition began impacting a small town.  
Opening a dinner theater in a town of 14,000 people proved to be an adventure for founder, Lana Hallmark, who had recently retired from teaching drama at Searcy High School.  As the proprietor of a for-profit organization, Hallmark directed shows and organized caterers for nearly four years before she invited community leaders to participate with her in further developing the organization.  In April of 2003, the non-profit 501(c)(3) Performing Arts Center on the Square began with a board of twelve members.  Hallmark was named Executive Director and continued to shoulder most of the responsibilities for running the business and the productions until 2011.   
Center on the Square now has volunteer directors, three part-time paid staff positions, as well as a Board of Directors.  The Board directs administrative functions, fundraising activities, special events, and orchestrated the purchase and renovation of a new facility in 2012.  See our "Our Staff and Board" page for more about our leaders.
Center on the Square offers dinner theater shows, matinees with lunch and musicals utilizing local talent, directors and volunteers from Searcy and White County, but also from Batesville, Heber Springs, and Conway, giving participants an opportunity to study and grow in their knowledge and theater experience.  In addition to the regular season schedule, Center on the Square offers children's shows as well as a children's acting program.  Kidstage began in the summer of 2000 with eight students, and now is a year-round program serving nearly 150 students per year and producing three children's shows each year.  The program has attracted the attention of one of Searcy's largest businesses, Land O'Frost, which has made a long-term commitment to support the program.  Children from 2nd grade - 12th grade are split into age appropriate groups where they learn basic stage instruction as well as set building, costuming, stage make-up and lighting.  Each class culminates in a production in which every child participates. 
Local businesses have supported the efforts of Center on the Square and its contribution to the overall quality of life in the region by sponsoring shows and events, purchasing advertising, and promoting the productions to their employees.  Several companies and civic groups have their Christmas parties at the theater with the group enjoying dinner and a show together.  "My introduction to the theater came from my husband's company Christmas party in December of 2000," said Carla Fuller,  Board Chair, "and since then I've joined the Board, served three terms as Chair, fundraised, acted, directed, and now renovated a building for this institution that I've grown to love."  One of the Center's goals is to create experiences people never forget, and a company Christmas party is a great way to do that.     

Since its inception, Center on the Square has become a Searcy tradition, a place to meet new people, develop friendships, be entertained, entertain others, and give back to the community.  The Board of Directors is honored to serve this region of the state by sustaining the performing arts for everyone to enjoy. 


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