NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The COVID-19 pandemic has caused another Nashville area establishment to shut its doors. Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre has closed after entertaining guests for more than 50 years.
Owner Norma Luther shared the news with employees and customers on Oct. 1. She posted the statement below on the theatre's website:
"After dramatic attempts, much heartbreaking soul searching, and hundreds of prayers, the only conclusion is really very simple. There is no way for the Barn to ever recover or reopen under my ownership. Financially and emotionally this has been devastating to me personally, the entire staff, long time season members/patrons, the 1000’s of senior citizens and charities we supported, as well as some of the performers and musicians who genuinely appreciated the Barn and the opportunities that the Barn provided."
The intimate theatre in the round opened in 1967 and was Nashville's first professional dinner theatre. Many of the barn's 50 staff members have worked there for more than 20 years. Customers have enjoyed shows like "Singing in the Rain" and "Sister Act" for decades, as well as a buffet dinner.
Friday afternoon, performers and long-time employees stopped by the barn to collect old costumes and keepsakes. There are memories of the theatre's rich history on every wall including photos of the founders John and Janie Chaffin. The barn and property will be up for sale after Oct. 15.
"We had a lot of happy memories," said Luther, who has owned the theatre for the last five years. "I think our legacy is love, equality and entertainment…just quality entertainment."
Luther said she has been working to refund all tickets and memberships. She encouraged people who may have been overlooked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travis Kelty is handling the sale of the property. He is accepting email requests for information after Oct. 15 at email@example.com.