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 theater has the power to transform lives. We see it all the time, starting with the very young. Children who participate in theater learn to express themselves, learn the value working cooperatively with others, and grow in self-confidence.

Adults who act in or simply enjoy plays are entertained or provoked, challenged or transported to places they can only dream of. And when, in the quiet darkness, free from outside distractions, we watch the fictional lives of others unfold on stage, it alters the way we think and feel about our own lives.

That is why we committed to rejuvenating this beautiful theater, why we seek to produce and present top-notch, professional productions showcasing the work of the finest playwrights, actors, and directors, why we run year-round theatrical programs for children and adults and why we want to do even more.

We have a vision for our future. It involves expanding our campus and creating housing for visiting actors and a permanent home for building and storing sets, props, and costumes. We want to operate with an increased and realistic budget and establish an endowment that will secure our future financially.  We believe our Playhouse is valuable to all the communities on Martha’s Vineyard. We hope you will join us in this mission.

How We Carry Out Our Mission

The 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; and producing many special plays, musical and other types of events on our intimate Patricia Neal Stage 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. We also offer innovative educational programs all year long for children, both in the theater (including a summer camp) and in the elementary schools.

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 as Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. The theater 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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