No bids for Wayside Theatre

WINCHESTER – The old Wayside Theatre is now off the public auction block after no one expressed interest in placing a bid.

Thomas Murphy, the substitute trustee, held an auction for the Middletown property in front of the Frederick County Circuit Court at 1 p.m. Monday after the July 14 auction was postponed. A much smaller crowd of spectators assembled at the stairs to observe the auction this time, but no one came with intent to actually place a bid.

Bidders would have needed to bring $55,000 in the form of cash or check to deposit with Murphy after winning the auction.

After verifying that no one had assembled to bid on the property, Murphy read the notice of sale in its entirety. He then told those assembled that the lender had made a credit bid of $168,000 for the theater and later said he was not willing to state who the lender was.

The notice of sale states that Wayside Foundation for the Arts made the Deed of Trust for the benefit of BB&T in early 2011.

Wayside Theatre ceased to hold performances in August 2013 after 51 completed seasons and a $90,000 fundraiser to continue operations into the 2013-2014 season. The theater’s then-president Byron Brill attributed the closure to the economy and undersold shows. It was one of many landmark properties once owned by philanthropist Leo Bernstein.

Past theater board member Paige Manuel, who came to observe the would-be auction on Monday, said he was simply invested in learning about the future of the property.

Since no public offer outbid the credit bid made by the lender, the property now goes to the lender. The theater will no longer be up for public auction.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or