Vermont’s award-winning Weston Playhouse Theatre Company extends an open invitation to the grand opening of Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm, the company’s new year-round second stage and community center, on Saturday, Sept. 23. Public festivities begin at 2 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by an afternoon of self-guided tours, short performances, outdoor music, and food provided by local vendors, concluding at 5 p.m.
The grand opening celebration will open with Hazen Metro on bagpipes. Performances in the new theater include Piper Goodeve, Susan Haefner, Munson Hicks, Barbara Lloyd, Sam Lloyd, Jr., Jim Raposa, Dottie Stanley, Syd Straw, Broadway Theatre Camp with accompanist, Kent Baker, and the Young Playwrights program. Under the tent outside, Jamie Ward will be singing songs from the Broadway musicals performed on the Weston Playhouse stage over the last 30 years.
Designed and built by the BreadLoaf Corporation of Middlebury, Vt. in conjunction with theatrical consultants Fisher Dachs of New York, the 8,000 square foot building includes a flexible performance space that can be configured for theatre, concerts, lectures and meetings, banquets, and film and video production.
The first performances in the new space will begin Oct. 1 with a week-long run of “Joe Iconis and Family,” a concert by the prominent New York based composer/performer and his most frequent collaborators, many of whom have been seen in Weston productions and cabarets.
Located on a five-acre farmstead north of the Weston Playhouse on the opposite side of Vermont Route 100/Main Street, the new facility will complement the theatre company’s summer use of the historic flagship Weston Playhouse on the Weston Village Green.
Steve Stettler, Weston’s producing artistic director, said, “We will, of course, continue to offer great summer shows in the Weston Playhouse, but this project will allow us to extend our reach. During the summer, the second stage at Walker Farm will accommodate shows that need a more intimate or flexible space. The new theatre will also expand our season into the spring and autumn and provide a resource for concerts, films, lectures, meetings, and other community uses.”
Stettler continued, “Perhaps most important, Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm will be the centerpiece of our project to create an incubator for the performing arts in Vermont – a greatly expanded program to develop new musicals and plays, bringing theatre artists from across the U.S. to work and create in our quiet and supportive rural setting. The program will enhance Vermont’s reputation for excellence in the arts, have a positive economic impact on our region, and make a major contribution to the American theatre.”
The new theatre is funded by the theatre company’s ongoing $13 million capital campaign. In addition to the land acquisition and design and construction costs of the new building, the campaign includes a half million dollar education endowment, $1 million in improvements to the Weston Playhouse, and a $1.5 million Fund for the American Theatre, which will support the company’s expanded New Works programs, including the operating costs of the new facility.
For more information about the non-profit Weston Playhouse Theatre Company and Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm, visit www.westonplayhouse.org.