Goodspeed Musicals develops new musicals and nurtures emerging artists at The Norma Terris Theatre. Dedicated in 1984, the theatre is named in honor of the actress Norma Terris, star of Jerome Kern's Show Boat and a devoted patron and trustee of the Goodspeed Opera House during her later years. She presided over the dedication of The Norma Terris Theatre, and in 1987 she established The Norma Terris Fund to expand the talents of individuals and to foster the vitality, excellence and diversity of musical theatre at The Norma Terris Theatre. The Norma Terris Theatre formerly was a factory built in the early 1900s for Susan Bates, Inc., which became one of the largest manufacturers of knitting needle and needlework accessories. In 1982, after locating to a larger facility, Susan Bates, Inc. donated its abandoned factory in Chester, Connecticut to Goodspeed Musicals. An intimate 200-seat performing space, The Norma Terris Theatre was fully renovated, opening its doors on July 10, 1984 with the new musical, Harrigan 'N Hart.