About the

Murphy Theatre

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

The Murphy brings in audiences to enjoy live entertainment amid the historic beauty of the theatre.


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.

Security Checklist

Large bags and backpacks are not permitted inside the Murphy Theatre. A small purse is permitted. To ensure the safety of all our guests, all bags are subject to search upon entering.

The following items are prohibited for all shows: weapons (including mace and pepper spray), alcohol, drugs, lawn chairs, laser pointers, skates, wallet chains, spiked jewelry/belts, banners, backpacks, flyers, beach balls, aerosol cans, glass bottles, Frisbees, fireworks, sparklers, video equipment. Professional cameras and audio recording equipment are prohibited at most shows, at the performer’s discretion. Other items may be disallowed at the discretion of our Guest Services staff based on the safety of all of our customers. If in doubt, please leave it at home.

We encourage you to review our safety and security information below prior to arriving at the venue.

  • Please arrive early to the venue to allow enough time for you and your guests to move through the queue and enter the venue.
  • Prior to entering the venue, guests will be searched (wand or walk through metal detection and/or pat-downs) to ensure that none of the restricted items enters the building.
  • We suggest you leave valuable and unnecessary items at home.
  • You may be asked to empty your pockets of all items so that they can be examined.
  • All alcohol and narcotic laws will be strictly enforced.
  • All bags will be searched, and no large bags or backpacks will be allowed.

We reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone.

  • No Outside Food or Drink Allowed
  • No guns, knives, weapons, pepper spray, projectiles of any kind, or any other item that could be used to inflict harm.
  • Replicas of any type of weapon are NOT permitted.
  • No drugs or drug paraphernalia, illegal substances of any kind.
  • No personal video cameras, Go-Pros, selfie sticks, drones, masks or laser pointers.
  • No professional photo, video, or audio recording equipment – (including detachable lenses, tripods, zooms or commercial use rigs)
  • No unsealed liquids or gels of any kind
  • No jewelry or clothing that could inflict harm
  • No large bags over (10” x 10”), backpacks, Camelbacks or Bota bags
  • No toy guns of any kind
  • This list of prohibited items is subject to change at the discretion of venue management

Zero Tolerance For Drug Use or Possession

The use or possession of any illegal drugs will not be tolerated anywhere inside or outside the venue. Security personnel and narcotics officers will be working and enforcing all drug related laws. Do not bring any illegal substances to the event as violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you are found impaired at the door, security will not allow you to enter the venue. Event staff reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone. Please come with a smile and be prepared to enjoy a fun filled night of music and dancing.

Safety and Medical

The Murphy Theatre is dedicated to providing a safe environment. Public and private security will be present throughout the entire event. The Security Staff will be available to assist your needs including any medical requests.