Provincetown Theater Foundation

PROVINCETOWN THEATER FOUNDATION MISSION STATEMENT

Formed in 2001 in the birthplace of modern American theater, the primary purpose of  The Provincetown Theater Foundation (PTF) is to sustain, encourage and promote the performing arts on Outer Cape Cod through the maintenance and management, both physically and artistically, of the Provincetown Theater located at 238 Bradford Street, Provincetown, Massachusetts in order to provide performance and educational space for theatrical artists within the Cape Cod community and beyond.

PROVINCETOWN THEATER FOUNDATION, DBA PROVINCETOWN THEATER

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PROVINCETOWN THEATER COMPANY

Provincetown Theatre Company opened its doors for the first time on March 29, 1963. Then it was known as the Provincetown Theatre Workshop and presented its first production, an original fantasy called, Circles in the Snow, in the Parish House of St. Mary’s of the Harbor on the east end of Provincetown. The company consisted of a creative mix of professional, semi-professional and talented non-professional local actors, writers, musicians, artists, directors and technicians. From the beginning, the company emphasized a mixture of staged readings, original plays by local writers, and works by established playwrights-a combination that continued to be the core focus of the company.

From 1963 through 1972, the company changed locations many times, mounting more and more ambitious productions. They performed a wide selection of plays, readings, and even musical revues in a variety of venues, including Town Hall, The Crown and Anchor, The Provincetown Art Association, and Piggy’s (a former nightclub on Shank Painter Road).

In the winter of 1973, the Provincetown Theatre Workshop was re-christened as The Provincetown Theatre Company and The Provincetown Academy of Performing Arts and Museum, by drawing up a new constitution, and establishing itself as a not-for-profit organization. In the late 1970’s the theatre company was an itinerant group, performing in various spots around town until it re-established itself at the Art Association in 1982 with a full season of productions.

In 1988-89, the company moved to the Provincetown Inn and for the first time had a year round performing space for plays, revues and staged readings. It was during this period that the company hired its first Artistic Director, the late Michael Prevulsky, who directed a number of acclaimed productions. The company also entered into an artistic collaboration with acclaimed artist and playwright Edward Gorey during this period and produced three of his plays. In the early 90’s, the company produced the enormously popular and award-winning AIDS Quilt memorial musical, Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens. This was but one example of the theatre company passionate devotion to the community it served.

Hard times fell on the company in 1993 with the loss of the performing space at the Inn. A turning point came in the fortunes of the company at the annual meeting in 1995, when the PTC Board re-shaped its structure, re-examined its mission, and re-dedicated itself to ensuring that a local, community-based theatre company would continue to survive in Provincetown. In 1996 ties were re-established with The Provincetown Inn, where the company continued to perform until it merged with the Provincetown Repertory Theatre (REP) in 2006.

In addition to a year-round season, the company produced a highly successful Playwriting Competition that celebrates the work of a Massachusetts playwright with a cash award and a staged reading of his/her work. From its inception, PTC provided a forum for Cape Cod and Massachusetts’ playwrights and continued this commitment with annual Fall and Spring Playwrights’ Festivals. PTC also joined with Campus Provincetown and Narrowland Arts to offer classes in Acting, Directing, Performance Art and Playwriting. The Provincetown Theatre Company provided many Provincetown and Cape Cod residents with their first theatrical experiences. It has also nourished the ambitions of many individuals interested in pursuing a career in the theater.

PTC and the REP, (Provincetown Repertory Theatre) began discussions to consolidate staff and merge in October of 2005. This became a reality on January 1, 2006 when the combined theater company became known as, The New Provincetown Players and assumed both ownership and operations of The Provincetown Theater and named Guy Wolf as Producing Artistic Director.

 

THE PROVINCETOWN REPERTORY THEATRE

In 1995, Artistic Director Ken Hoyt and Joan and Anton Schiffenhaus founded The Provincetown Repertory Theatre. They wanted to provide the Cape Cod community with exciting and challenging theatre performed by an Equity company.

Their goal was to produce works historically linked to Provincetown, new plays, and contemporary classics to entertain and engage Cape Cod audiences. Paula Vogel’s The Mineola Twins and the musical Amphigorgorey, based on Cape resident Edward Gorey’s book of the same name are but two examples. Both Vogel and Gorey had their world premieres at The REP before heading off to New York City productions, establishing Provincetown as an important place for the development of new American work by great American writers.

Edward Albee and Terrence McNally, to engaging the award-winning director Jose Quintero to direct the plays of Eugene O’Neill, The REP was a shining example of regional theater. Ken Hoyt chose a season that balanced the importance of new work with revisiting such classics as Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie and Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour. More recently, under the leadership of Norris Church Mailer and David Fortuna, Terrence McNally applauded The REP’s 2003 production of his play Master Class by saying it was, “a world class production.”

Lynda Sturner took the helm as Artistic Director for the opening of the REP’s inaugural season in the new Provincetown Theater. Lynda brought The Direct Line Play to Provincetown, a master work that combined the talents of the worlds most established and cutting edge playwrights. In Lynda’s, two years as Artistic Director, she brought the Hartford Stage production of The Mystery of Irma Vep to Provincetown and the world premiere musical, Dusty, based on the life of Dusty Springfield. Both productions played to sold out houses and garnered The REP national recognition.

In October of 2005, The Provincetown Theatre Company and The Provincetown Repertory Theatre began discussions to consolidate staff and merge resources. In January of 2006, The Provincetown Repertory Theatre and The Provincetown Theatre Company became the New Provincetown Players and set off to produce a year-round theatrical season at the Provincetown Theater. Guy Wolf was named as Producing Artistic Director.

 

Provincetown Theater Foundation

Provincetown is the undisputed birthplace of Modern American drama. Ever since the Provincetown Players produced Eugene O’Neill’s Bound East for Cardiff in 1916, the town has hosted and nurtured playwrights and writers – from Tennessee Williams to contemporary award-winners such as Norman Mailer, Michael Cunningham, Wendy Kesselman, Paula Vogel and John Guare. Yet, once the famous Playhouse on the Wharf burned down in 1977, Provincetown had no adequate facility for performing and developing new plays.

In 2001, a group of prominent community members formed the Provincetown Theater Foundation, Inc. as a 501© 3 non profit organization, to manifest a long-held dream – construction of a new, state-of-the art theater facility to house the decade-old Provincetown Repertory Theatre (REP), a professional Equity company, and the community-based Provincetown Theatre Company (PTC), active for forty-one years. With enormous support from individual contributors, volunteers and friends of the community, the Foundation raised the funds to make the building a reality. Located on the grounds of the former Provincetown Mechanics building at 238 Bradford Street, construction began in September 2003.

The opening of the Provincetown Theater on June 22, 2004 was a landmark in Provincetown’s cultural history. Our premier season garnered national media attention, rave reviews (NY Times and Best of Boston, Boston Magazine) and artistic contributions from several acclaimed authors, playwrights and directors including Pulitzer Prize writers Michael Cunningham, Terence McNally and Norman Mailer.