The Barn Players Theater was founded in 1955 by Earl Altaire, a prominent Kansas City interior designer and theater devotee. He personally guided the renovation of a large barn at the Woolf Farm near 83rd and Mission Road, turning it into a comfortable theater seating 225 people. The old barn had once been the home of Larwin, winner of the 1938 Kentucky Derby. From 1955 to 1971, it was to be the home of the Barn Players.
Earl Altaire died in 1959, but his dream of a strong community theater was kept alive by a group of his original Barn Players. They banded together to form a non-profit corporation, The Barn Players, Inc., in Johnson County.
The 1971 season found the Barn Players at the old Manor Barn on the grounds of the Glenwood Manor near 91st and Metcalf. The move from the Woolf Farm property had been dictated by impending commercial development of the area, which made the maintenance of the Barn as a theater financially unfeasible. At the Manor Barn, the Barn Players presented most of its productions in an arena-like fashion, in contrast to the traditional proscenium staging of shows in the original Barn.