About the

Murphy Theatre

Clinton County’s destination for arts, entertainment, and education.


The Beginning

The Murphy story began on a warm evening in late July of 1918 when Charles Webb Murphy opened his newly built theatre in his hometown of Wilmington. It was a grand theatre for a small town and its history reflects the ebb and flow of small town America. The theatre acted as the heart of downtown in those early days playing host to vaudeville, lectures, minstrel shows, movies, high school graduations, band concerts, plays and even church services.


Chakeres is Born

In 1929, the theatre was leased to Chakeres Theaters of Springfield, Ohio,  who were making a name for themselves in the film industry. They refurbished the theatre, removed some of the seating, covered the marble floor with carpet and installed modern equipment to handle “talkies”. Chakeres Theaters operated a successful movie house through the boom of the film industry until the advent of modern multiple screen theaters.


Saving a Landmark

In 1985, the descendants of Charles Murphy decided to sell the theatre. A local group began the process of saving the theatre by selling stock options to fund the purchase and, in 1989, formed a not-for-profit organization whose purpose was to restore the theatre and ensure its use for years to come.


Legacy Lives On

The Murphy Theatre is experiencing a transformation as volunteers and supporters continue the restoration of this building to its original splendor. Through financial contributions, from the community members, businesses, and grants, we continue to make The Murphy the best it can be.

The theatre remains a true community center providing a venue for touring performers, local theater productions, school events, performing arts education, business meetings and weddings. The Murphy Theatre’s mission is to continue to be a source of community pride, an example of perseverance, and an entertainment and cultural center for all.  The Historic Murphy Theatre is a place to Enrich, Inspire, and Entertain our Community.

Board of Trustees

Adrienne Ahlers
Jean Black
Cindy Camp
Cheri Cleaver
Paul Fear
Dianne Bonecutter Garrett
Jennifer Hollon

Dave Morgan
Brad Reynolds
Tara Rhinehart
Danielle Sollars
David Wagenseller
Cheryl Webb
Elexis Wiederhold

Rent the Murphy!

Special Events & Rentals


The historic Murphy Theatre is a premiere venue for concerts, receptions, and special events in Clinton County. Our facility is available for all types of events both corporate and social. If you are looking to hold an event involving an admission charge or involving fundraising, you must be a qualified not-for-profit tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3).

 Available Rental Spaces DETAILED BELOW


A dramatic place to hold wedding ceremonies and/or receptions, formal corporate dining, or social cocktail hours. This space is fully equipped to handle any type of presentation, performance, or lecture with state of the art technology and AV equipment, professional sound and lighting capabilities, projector, and floor-to-ceiling projector screen. Seated Capacity: 700


 RoomOur newly renovated (2021) bar and concessions area offers a private location for intimate breakfasts, lunches or dinners, small meetings, and receptions. With views overlooking downtown, Charlie’s Cast & Crew is perfect for meetings and cocktail hours. Capacity: Seated 25-50, Standing Room 117


Our lobby is the ideal backdrop for cocktail receptions, corporate dining or social hours. Capacity: 50


Located in our Murphy Studios, just above the theatre, this room is perfect for meetings, presentations, classes & workshops, rehearsal space and lectures. Capacity: 30


Wanna take center stage? Get noticed on our marquee. Put your message up on our marquee to celebrate milestones including birthdays, engagements, proposals and more. Are you a new business and want to advertise? We got you covered.



We want to hear about your upcoming event! Call (937) 382-3643 to talk with our staff today.


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