Tony Award Winner and former Wilmington Resident, Linda Lavin and her husband, Steve Bakunas bought and renovated a South Third Street garage not far from their downtown home. In 2007, they launched the Red Barn Studio Theatre, staging complex dramas and comedies by contemporary American playwrights. Lavin often starred in these productions, taking the title role in Driving Miss Daisy, and college professor and writer Ruth Steiner in Collected Stories. Collected Stories continued to Broadway in 2010, and earned Lavin one of her six Tony nominations.
In 2013, Thalian Association Community Theatre signed a four-year rent free lease with Lavin and Bakunas. The Red Barn Studio Theatre provided the perfect venue for plays not suitable for the Main Stage of historic Thalian Hall, where TACT stages large scale musical theatre productions. Many of the plays staged from 2013 – 2017 were honored by Star News Media Wilmington Theater Award nominations and awards; Other Desert Cities, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Red, Good People, Clybourne Park, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Real Thing, The Mercy Seat, Shows for Days, and Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park.
Techmoja, Pineapple Shaped Lamps, and Panache Theatrical Company also staged successful and acclaimed productions at the Red Barn. In 2015 Linda Lavin and Steve Bakunas returned to the Red Barn Studio Theatre for a staged reading of Steve’s play Fates of Choice.