Posted: May 04, 2022 1:34 PMUpdated: May 04, 2022 4:36 PM

Bernie's Playhouse: New Non-Profit Made in Bartlesville

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Garrett Giles

Giving people purpose and finding appreciation in fine arts is the goal of the latest non-profit to come to Bartlesville.

Bernie's Playhouse (BPH) – named after Bernie Meadows, a beloved member of the community and a leader at Theatre Bartlesville that passed away from COVID-19 in 2021 – is being run by Co-Founders Noah Meadows, Cody Petersen and Jeff Woodruff.

Meadows says they believe their father would be proud of them. Meadows says they believe they are trying to create a space that Bernie tried to create for everyone he ever interacted with. Meadows says their dad treated everybody with love and wanted love in the world while receiving love for himself. They says their dad wanted to provide a space for people to be who exactly who they are meant to be as they find themselves in the world.

January 2022 is when Meadows, a Bartlesville High School alum, returned to the area. Meadows says they worked in the Arts & Design Department at Universal for a few years. They says Bernie was easily one of the biggest supporters they have ever known and seen.

Meadows says they were gifted the name of the non-profit as well as the idea of the group from a friend's parents last year right around the time Bernie passed. They says they tried to run with the concept last year but shelved it for a little while because they realized they were using it to avoid their grief.

New life was given to Bernie's Playhouse in March. Meadows says they told Petersen and Woodruff about the hope of creating the non-profit then.They says BPH was approved under the Bartlesville Community Foundation (BCF) as a fiscal sponsor by the end of March, placing the group under BCF's 501(c)(3) status.

Petersen remembers the call fondly, which was made over Discord. Petersen says the three founders all agreed that they love the arts and wanted to show their passion for the arts by helping someone else discover their own passions. He says they went all in the next day as they had already bought their website –

The mission of BPH is, "To provide a culturally safe space for people to explore creative endeavors and find purpose through arts and media alike."

Petersen says he has met literally everyone he has ever known because of the arts. He says he moved closer to be back with Meadows and Woodruff to live out the mission of BPH.

After graduating from college, Woodruff moved back to Bartlesville in January 2020 and worked at the hospital throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Woodruff has lived in Bartlesville since 2003. He says it is an honor to be back in town and to work with Meadows and Woodruff since they all met in fine arts programs at Bartlesville High School.

BPH held its debut fundraiser in mid-April. Meadows says the purpose of the first event was to test the waters and get the word out about the non-profit. Meadows says they appreciate everyone that came out despite the severe weather in the forecast then. They says BPH is starting to slow down some in order to allow the community to catch up with them.

Woodruff says they haven't had much prep time to let BPH sink in with others. He says they are getting positive feedback, however, when they are able to take their time, have conversations with members of the community, and live out the non-profit's mission.

BPH will hold a BBQ event on Saturday, May 14, at Sooner Park in Bartlesville from noon to 3:00 p.m. Meadows says they will announce the non-profit's first theatrical production for the year then. Food will be provided. A water gun fight and tie-dye opportunities will be provided at this family friendly event, but you must bring your own water guns and items you wish to have tie-dyed.

The long-term goal for Bernie's Playhouse is to provide space enough for the community to come and explore any creative discipline they wish to find. Meadows says they want to connect people with what they are passionate about. They says the arts saved their life and they want to see people run with their dreams.

Woodruff says they want to tear down financial barriers for those wanting to pursue topics such as 3D/graphic design. He says they do not want people to worry about finances or other pressures as they pursue creative mediums they have an interest in learning about.

If you wish to get involved with Bernie's Playhouse, you can reach any of the founders of BPH via the contact information below:



Skills that BPH are starting out with but are not limiting themselves to include: acting classes, space for learning how to make podcasts, and more. Meadows says they will start smaller and work their way up. They says BPH will offer more as they continue to grow and move into a more permanent home over time.

Bernie's Playhouse can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Donations to BPH can be made through Bartlesville Community Foundation. BCF's website can be found here.

Meadows asks that you select Bernie's Playhouse if you decide to give through the BCF website. They says they appreciate any support they can get, whether it be financial, moral, or word of mouth.

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