To promote interracial, interpersonal connections through the advancement and exploration of theatre, dance, music, poetry, and other forms of culture in our community.
At the core of the organization is the commitment of two men, Bob Jones and Danny Fruchter
, to work together, bridging the gulf of their cultural differences. Bob and Danny each made theatre in Chester County for over 20 years before they met. Their work together began in 1989, on The Iliad Project, and led to collaborating on several plays, including the Free Fest productions of Our Town, Romeo and Juliet, and Gospel at Colonus at People's Light & Theatre Company. Bob and Danny co-founded the Coatesville Cultural Society in 1994, and in twenty four years have built four theatres in Coatesville: the Harmony Street Theatre (a 60-seat thrust theatre space), the Back Room Theatre (a 20-seat black box), The Theatre (a flexible assembly space up to 200 people), and the new Back Room Theatre (a 40-seat studio space/rehearsal room).
In 1997, when the Cultural Society's board and staff were planning to renovate a new theatre building, the group unanimously decided to devote our resources to support a community of artists and to make a home for their work. We built a theatre with an art gallery and café, and opened the doors to musicians and chess players, actors, poets and chefs. People have been bringing creative energy from around the region and the world, joining the effort to make the Cultural Society a focal point for community gathering.
Over the past twenty four years, the artists of the Cultural Society have produced thousands of performances (theatre, dance, music, poetry, and storytelling) and art exhibits; sponsored the Coatesville Chess Club and conducted school assembly programs and interactive workshops. In May, 1999, we began hosting all-day festivals to celebrate the opening of the Cultural Society's new building; over the next 12 years there have been 4 Gospel Fests, 10 Coatesville Celebrations of Old-Time Music and Dance, 9 Fiestas Latina, one Jazz Day, and one Hip-Hop Festival. All of these "programs" have enabled thousands of artists to contribute their work for the enjoyment of thousands of audience/participants. These activities are efforts to establish a gathering place for building interracial connections through Art in Coatesville.