Our Mission

The North Canton Playhouse Center for the Performing Arts is a charitable and educational institution, whose mission is to provide entertainment, enrichment, education and to encourage theatrical arts throughout the Canton Community, Stark County and the Northeastern Ohio area.


Our History

The North Canton Playhouse continued its tradition of extraordinary community theatre with its 40th anniversary season in 2016-17. We are proud to offer live, quality entertainment and a variety of productions and programs that allow opportunities and enjoyment for all.

Founded in 1976 by Leonard and Mary McManaway, North Canton Playhouse’s first production, “Mame,” was performed at Hoover High School South Campus in October 1976.

The North Canton Playhouse was first housed in a rental building (owned by the Hoover Company) as a small 40-seat theatre. Throughout the next 20 years, the North Canton Playhouse developed several special programs and community outreach programs and therefore developed a need for a larger building in which to house all theatre productions and programs. In 1995, the North Canton Board of Education invited the North Canton Playhouse to be a part of the expansion to Hoover High School’s North Campus. The Playhouse raised the necessary funds with the help of various grants and the generosity of organizations throughout the Stark County community and moved in to our present space in 1997.

Today, the North Canton Playhouse is governed by a volunteer member Board of Trustees. The Playhouse office has paid personnel, which includes a part-time office administrator and an Executive Director.

The Playhouse produces a strong lineup of entertaining productions each year, including a strong mix of musical theater, riveting dramatic plays, holiday favorites and cult-classic thrillers. We serve a large contingent of youth through main stage and youth theatre productions as well as outreach in the community.


In Memoriam

Mary & Leonard “Mac” McManaway founded the North Canton Playhouse in 1976. Mary served as Artistic Director for NCP, and Mac served as our main set builder as well as caretaker of the many things needed to keep up with the theatre. Mary directed numerous productions and encouraged a love of the Arts in a countless number of people. But more than that, she was a mentor and mom to many “adopted” sons and daughters along the way. Due to Mary’s introductions through the years, she is responsible for life long friendships and even some marriages. And Mac was always in the background, helping her productions come alive by building her sets.

Mary was an ardent advocate of animal rights, founding the Coalition for Animal Concerns. She found many people the perfect pet to enrich their lives. She helped pet owners to spay and neuter their pets through the many low cost spay/neuter clinics the Coalition funded. She and her husband fostered many animals throughout the years.

Mary was acknowledged to be one of Stark County’s “Greatest Citizens” when she was inducted into the Stark County Wall of Fame in 2002 and into the North Canton Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015, posthumously. Mary touched countless lives through her community work in so many other areas that are too numerous to mention here.

Mac passed away after an extended illness in 2013 at the age of 80, and Mary passed away, also after an extended illness, in 2014 at the age of 78. Mary and Mac’s family and members of the North Canton Playhouse wish to express their sincere appreciation for the gift that Mary & Mac left behind for us to continue to nurture and enjoy and, more importantly, enrich the lives of others through the Arts. We love you.

From inception to present, the North Canton Playhouse Center for Performing Arts continually strives to give something back to the wonderful North Canton community, by bringing quality entertainment and enrichment into the area. North Canton Playhouse is Extraordinary Community Theatre!


We weave an educational component – for youth and adults – into every production.


As a community partner, the North Canton Playhouse strives to enrich North Canton and surrounding areas.


Every show is packed full of fun and fantasy! Check out our calendar for an upcoming performance.


“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder” – Rumi