It's time to discover the

Secrets of the Theatre

Many know the Fulton Theatre as the beautiful, historic home for performing arts that it is today. But throughout its long, surprising history, the Fulton has accrued a myriad of interesting tales, transitions, and has served as the setting of many interesting events in history.

Did you know?

After 1910, movies began to pull audiences away from live theatre attendance, and with fewer traveling shows available, the Fulton instituted its own stock company. By 1920, these shows included burlesque, which led to a Lancaster group called The Law and Order Society to have then owner, Charles Yecker, arrested for “exhibiting immoral shows.”

The Fulton Opera House is one of only eight theatres in the United States recognized as a National Historic Landmark. It was recognized in 1969.

The first musical concert at Fulton Hall was by violinist Ole Bull and 9-year-old soprano Adelina Patti, to raise money for a settlement of Scandinavians in Potter County.


Since its inception, some of the brightest stars of theatre, music and film have appeared on its stage, including Sarah Bernhardt, Mark Twain, Horace Greeley (Famous Newspaper Editor and Presidential Candidate in 1872), Debbie Reynolds, Lily Tomlin, Lionel Barrymore, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, W.C. Fields, George M. Cohan, Treat Williams and Lancaster’s own Jonathan Groff. Theatrical performances included Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

The Theatre Is a

Tribute to Robert Fulton

Robert Fulton became one of Lancaster’s famous citizens for his successful commercialization of the steamboat. Fulton successfully developed and marketed the steamboat, and profited off original ideas of inventor John Fitch. Robert Fulton passed years before the Fulton Hall was built. (November 14, 1765 – February 24, 1815).

The wooden statue of Robert Fulton, that originally adorned the front of the building, is restored and displayed in the lobby. The exterior statue is a replica of the original. This statue was carved from a solid piece of wood (except for the head) by Philadelphia Sculptor Hugh Cannon in 1854. The statue used to sit outside in the second floor niche above the marquee, and was brought inside in the 1980’s to preserve it from the environment (weather, pollution, birds). Winterthur Museum restored this original, and created a fiberglass replica casting that sits in the original location outside above the marquee. The Fulton Properties Manager Katelin Walsko adorns Robert with props or costume pieces to reflect the current production.