Professional Nonprofit Theater on Martha's Vineyard
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24 Church Street, Box 2452, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 | 508-696-6300

About Us

Our Mission

Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse is a professional, non-profit working theater dedicated to inspiring, enriching and entertaining our diverse island community.

We believe that live theater has the power to transform lives. We see it all the time, starting with the very young. We seek to produce and present top-notch, professional productions showcasing the work of the finest playwrights, actors, and directors, and we operate year-round with live theater, art, music, poetry and dramatic programs for children and adults.

We have a vision for our future. It involves building a campus to provide housing for visiting actors and a permanent home for building and storing sets, props, and costumes. We intend to create an operating budget and endowment that will secure our operation for years to come. We hope you will join us in this mission.

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Standing Against Racism 

In our attempt to craft a timely statement about the current crises in our country, we have faltered. We thought carefully about how to respond appropriately, meaningfully and completely.
 
The truth is, our words are not good enough, our thinking is chaotic, our hearts are hurting, and we are outraged about systemic racism, white supremacy, discrimination in health care and brutal injustices against the Black and Brown citizens of our country. 
 
At our theater, we practice zero tolerance of racism or discrimination of any kind. We need to do more. Arts build strong communities. We hope to do better.
 
Black Lives Matter. We condemn the murder of George Floyd and countless other Black Americans. We stand in grief and sorrow and anger with our Black colleagues, friends, audience members, island neighbors and Black communities everywhere.
 
We are committed to a higher consciousness and the principles of equality. Above all, we believe in the power of love.

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During the Pandemic

April 10, 2020

Dear Playhouse Family, Friends and Supporters,

Sadly, but wisely, at our board meeting this past Monday, we decided to keep the Playhouse closed until it is safe on all fronts. This means for the first time in 38 years, there will be no summer season on our stage, no art exhibits in our gallery, no outdoor Shakespeare. We issued a public announcement on April 9.

In this time of Covid-19, social distancing and uncertainty, the Board of Directors of Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse and Artistic & Executive Director, MJ Bruder Munafo, have decided to cancel our 2020 summer season. Living through the new normal, we are instead exploring ways to entertain, educate and inspire through creative ideas online. The Playhouse as a community resource has a history of resilience. We intend, once this island has been given the “all-clear” signal, to resume our live productions, musical revues, poetry, art exhibits, movies, our children’s camp and programs, and a multitude of dramatic activities and special events. In the meantime, please consider your health, our health and the health of our wonderful island the utmost priority. You are in our hearts, we miss seeing you at the theater and we hope to be there for you when the danger is passed and it is safe to gather once again. 

Such surreal and unprecedented times!  Many hard decisions are being made by theaters and artists and boards everywhere in the world. None of us know when we will be able to go “live” again. It’s a day at a time right now as the situation evolves. We are in this together.

Our ghost light burns bright on our Patricia Neal Stage until the show can go on again. Stay safe, stay healthy, embrace the arts!

During this time, the Playhouse has partnered with multiple island arts organizations to continue advocacy. View the recent video here .

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How We (Usually) Carry Out Our Mission 

MV Playhouse operates year-round, presenting a wide selection of contemporary and classic plays; nurturing and developing new plays through staged readings, professional workshops and world premieres on our intimate Patricia Neal Stage; and presenting music, poetry, art and drama classes for children and adults, along with other types of events in our historic theater in downtown Vineyard Haven.

Each summer season we present vibrant classical and Shakespeare productions and highly imaginative original plays for children outdoors in the Tisbury Amphitheater.

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History of the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse

The historic Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse was built in 1833 on pasture land donated by Captain William Daggett. The building was originally constructed for $2,000 and was dedicated on July 11, 1833 as  a Methodist Meeting House and used as such until 1845.

The Town of Tisbury held town meetings here between the years of 1852-1854.  In 1855, the building was bought for use as a public meeting house and named Capawock Hall.  At this time, the structure was raised from one to two stories with a market on the first floor.  The first Episcopal church service on Martha’s Vineyard was held here on December 24, 1862.  The hall was utilized for weddings and community suppers.

In 1895, the Masons bought the Capawock Hall after losing their own building in Tisbury’s great fire of 1883.  The building was purchased for “a considerable sum”  and remodeled.  A quote at that time said, “The interior is finished throughout with southern yellow pine bead board and (it) is one of the best suburban lodges in the state.”

The building was used as a Masonic Lodge until 1982, when Eileen Wilson and Isabella McKamy purchased it and founded their small non-profit theater, the Vineyard Association of Drama and Art aka The Vineyard Playhouse.

The Playhouse purchased its home from the founders in March of 1993 and continued to operate as The Vineyard Playhouse. A complete renovation, restoration and expansion of the historic theater building (2011 – 2014) took place and the Playhouse entered its new chapter under a new name – Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. The theater is the gateway to the William Street Historic District and continues its role as one of Tisbury’s cultural and architectural gems and hopes to be here for generations to come.

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