The Washington Park Playhouse has been hosting free theatre shows for over twenty-one years. Prior to these free admission events, the playhouse was attracting audiences that exceeded the thousands. The large audiences resulted in the a new amphitheater being constructed just across the lake during the early nineteen nineties, shortly after it was founded.
The original playhouse was founded in nineteen eighty-eight and hosted theatrical events which drew enormous crowds. After the new Playhouse was built to better suit larger audiences the mayor, Gerald D. Jennings, directed a youth program to assist in developing young theatre artists that was titled "Playhouse II Youth Theatre Training Program". Jennings' successor of the program, Director of Education Shirley Arensburg, maintained it and even expanded the program. A graduate of the training program was hired as the Director in two thousand and ten and it has proven to be a smart hire. Under Owen M. Smith's direction, the Playhouse has hosted many of its most successful performances throughout its history. Today the program offers children ages nine through twelve a training program during the summer, meanwhile offering a different training program over the off-season
The reasoning behind free admissions to the performances is that it is intended to teach valuable information to young audiences about teamwork and coming together as a group to learn and better ourselves. Also, it is intended to spread the art of theatre and attract potential artists. This is a great strategy to implement in order to reach a bigger audience because anybody from any socio-economic group can attend a performance and come to appreciate the art and the efforts put into the art by the artists. Educating the community is clearly a priority at the Park Playhouse.