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"Art is about breaking new ground, where the artist strives to change the way audiences see music, visual art and literature." - Stephen Merriman

"... in an absolute sense, jazz is more a certain process - a spontaneity - than a style." - Bill Evans


MERRIMANS' PLAYHOUSE MISSION: To promote the art and education of jazz in our community.

Merrimans' Playhouse is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) venue, established as an arts and educational organization. Merrimans' Playhouse was founded by Stephen Merriman and Mary Merriman, who began their Jazz Performance Series in December of 2006. What we are creating with our Jazz Performance Series is an opportunity to experience the creative process, live. The venue is conducive to nurturing the art of improvisation, where the artist has the freedom to really dig into their art and present their work to an appreciative audience, in a room which you can hear the dynamics of the music. It IS a Listening Room, a Sonic Art Gallery. We are not a typical club, we are more like the "ungig", an "art space", rather than an "entertainment space". The audience comes to deeply listen, and this positive energy feeds the energy of the artists. Each performance has been a special evening for all people in the room.


Merrimans’ Playhouse brings national and international professional touring jazz artists to South Bend. Another goal is to bridge the gap between cultures and celebrate our universal language of music. We also support local jazz musicians and students of the community with our Jazz Open Sessions on Tuesday evenings, and through our "Home Grown" Jazz Performance Series, featuring concerts of area jazz groups. As part of our Home Grown Jazz Performance Series, we want to represent the rich culture of artists who live in our community. We also present a Student Jazz Performance Series, for regional or touring college and high school students, highlighting groups either affiliated with their school, or have independent projects and recordings, so they have the opportunity to perform their art in an intimate space with an attentive audience. Merrimans' Playhouse plans to have more educational opportunities in the future through more clinics and masterclass from the touring artists. The venue also provides a Recital Hall Venue for teachers and students.

The Merrimans have been partnering with Notre Dame's Snite Museum of Art since 2015, and curates their Summer Jazz Performance series. The concerts are once a month on Thursdays, May through August, from 5:00 - 7:30 pm at the museum, in the outside courtyard (weather permitting). If you haven't checked out the museum, this will be a great opportunity to do so! This has been a great partnership bridging Notre Dame and the community, and the Merrimans feel very honored that ND reached out to them. Check it out at the Snite's website.

Board Members: Stephen Merriman, Mary Merriman, Rob Easley, Philip Schatz, Patricia Doyle, and Milt Lee.

Your support will aid us in furthering our mission. Your donations may be tax deductible, as current IRS laws apply.

Please Donate using Our PayPal account here (you can use your credit card; you do not need a PayPal account).

You may also write a check and send to:

Merrimans' Playhouse, Inc.

518 Marquette Ave.

South Bend, IN 46617


Hosted by Stephen and Mary Merriman. Based on Jazz Standards.


J.J. Wright and Don Lerman at the Open Session.


Features national and international jazz musicians. (Francois Moutin and Kavita Shaw Duo - 2018)


(Sylvaine Helary - Spring Roll - 2016)


(Javier Red - Imagery Converter - 2018)

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