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 diverse work of the finest playwrights, actors, and directors.
We operate 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 programs and 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.
We have a vision for our future. It involves expanding our campus to provide housing for visiting actors and creating permanent indoor / outdoor spaces for children’s programs, gatherings, workshops, rehearsals, and scenic-prop-costume shops. We intend to establish a cash reserve and an endowment that will secure our theater operations for years to come.
Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse believes in a world of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice for all people. We are opposed to all forms of racism, segregation, and discrimination. We understand that African Americans, Latinos, AAPI, Native People, the LGBTQIA community, immigrants, and women are marginalized within our institutions through policies that impose systemic inequities. Theater has the power to change lives. We will confront institutional racism and intolerance in our artistic productions and programs.
Updated September 2022
We closed in March of 2020 but we never stopped operating, virtually.
During our 39th summer season in 2021, we returned to limited live performances outdoors in the Tisbury Amphitheater and at other locales. We resumed Summer Stars Children’s Theater Camp in-person and re-opened the Playhouse Art Space. We held Courtyard Concerts outside at the Playhouse.
November 2021: 21 months after closing, we returned to live performances inside the Playhouse with our popular Wicked Good Musical Revue, Arnie’s Poetry Cafe and our Monday Night at the Movies series.
In 2022, we presented several solo shows and then our first fully-staged and produced plays on our Patricia Neal Stage since the pandemic began!
Please stay safe, stay healthy, and continue to embrace and support the arts!
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.