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The Winnipesaukee Playhouse: Be a Part Of The Theater!

By Jessica Metcalf

The Winnipesaukee Playhouse is a nonprofit organization that develops and stages professional and community-based theater productions. It also offers education department productions and guest performances. Co-founder and Managing Director Lesley Pankhurst explains, "This allows the local community to get involved onstage, backstage, and as audience members."

Pankhurst and her husband Neil, along with her brother, Bryan Halperin, and his wife Johanna founded The Winnipesaukee Playhouse in 2004 with a vision of bringing quality arts and arts education to the Lakes Region. In June of 2013, the Playhouse opened a brand new 194 seat MainStage theater on its Meredith campus. The Winnipesaukee Playhouse has become a cultural gem in Central New Hampshire and has won critical acclaim for its performances and educational services. In 2013, the Playhouse won the Community Pride Award, The "Matty" Award for Vision and Tenacity, the 2013 Golden Hammer Award, and the Community Impact Award.

The Playhouse offers a state-of-the-art theater building, as well as an 11-acre campus, complete with a covered bridge, nature trail, and picnic areas. You can come, take a stroll through the woods, have a light meal at the Playhouse's bar, and watch a professional theater production. On selected nights in the summer, an outdoor stage hosts free entertainment for the community.

Pankhurst tells us that for the Playhouse's professional summer season, they may audition over 700 actors from New York, Boston and New Hampshire. Once the players are selected, it becomes a full-time job: "Actors are generally cast in more than one show, so the schedule is quite demanding- they will be rehearsing one show during the day and performing in another show at night."

The Winnipesaukee Playhouse is also serious about educating the community- with a goal of fostering a life-long appreciation of the technique, history, and literature of the theater. The Playhouse offers classes for students of all ages, from improv to choreography to scene study. The Playhouse also offers field trips, professional apprenticeships, school outreach, and arts advocacy to get people excited and involved in the theater experience. Members of the community can become involved in productions, either on-stage or back-stage.

No matter what your interest in the theater, The Winnipesaukee Playhouse has a part for you. You can come and enjoy a professionally-staged performance, take a class- or take the stage yourself!

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About The Author

J.L. Metcalf has a Bachelor's degree in English from Rhode Island College. She has...

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