Marblehead Little Theatre is one of New England’s oldest community theatre groups

By Melissa Stacey

The following is an interview with Marblehead Little Theatre at 12 School St., conducted by Discover Marblehead. To learn more about MLT’s upcoming shows and workshops, go to mltlive.com

Tell us about Marblehead Little Theatre and how it got started. In the fall of 1954, Terry Hale became the chair of the Marblehead Women’s Club drama committee. Eight women of the drama committee performed the one act play “The Charm Racquet” for the Woman’s Club on the occasion of their annual meeting in May of 1955 at the Old North Church parish hall. It soon became evident that a much larger group was needed and so husbands, sons, daughters and friends were invited to an organizational meeting in September 1955. Hale continued to lead the new group as its first president through its formative first three years. The newly formed Little Theatre group presented its first production, the three-act play, Moss Hart’s “Light Up the Sky” at the Women’s Club Guest Night. The show opened on January 18, 1956, at the Marblehead Junior High School auditorium. And so, Marblehead Little Theatre was born and now over six decades later has proven to be one of the oldest community theatre groups in New England, as well as one of the few to have continually-produced shows each year.

Who are the people involved with MLT behind the scenes? Andrew Barnett is MLT’s technical director and the doer of all things related to keeping the building running and in good shape. Andy has been involved with MLT for over 20 years as a producer, designer, builder and board member. He designed and built his first set at the Marblehead Middle (Village) School in 1992 for “Fiddler on the Roof.”  Andy has built scenery for Marblehead Middle and High Schools, Salem High School, Rebel Shakespeare Company, Stage 284, Endicott College, Gordon College, Opera Boston, Gloucester Stage, Roxbury Center for the Arts, MassJam, Perkins School for the Blind, Boston Center for the Arts, Mssng Lnks, The Summer

Revels, Riversing and The Christmas Revels. His work is a tribute to the many dedicated artists who believe in making live theater great.

At present, we have a 14-member board of directors. This includes President Julie Menard, Vice President Trudi Olivetti, Treasurer Danuta Shasha, Secretary & Education Dir. Alma Mahon, Volunteer Coordinator Bruce Whear, Marketing Coordinator Stanis Ames, Season Planning Dir. Steve Black, Box Office Coordinator Ted Merit, Membership Coordinator Betty Lautner, Dayle Persons, Anne Lucas, David Foye, Christina Easthope and Erin Pelikhov.

Executive Producer Emily Black has helped steer productions for the past several years. In addition to the board and staff, we have a community of friends of MLT who fill vital roles in the realms of production, lighting, sound design, music direction, choreography, set design/construction/painting, stage management, house management and more.

What are some of the programs you provide for children, teens and young adults? MLT offers a variety of youth theater programming throughout the year. We run school vacation workshops in February and April and run four sessions of musical theater workshops in the summer. We also run improv workshops for children and teens, as well as Shakespearean acting workshops. Finally, each fall and spring we run full children’s musical theater productions, which include a full rehearsal schedule and a weekend of performances. Info can be found at mltlive.com/childrens-theatre/.

What show is coming up on the schedule with Marblehead Little Theatre? “The Great Gatsby, An American Musical” is coming up at MLT this month and runs from June 23 through July 2. Based on the beloved American novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this new musical by Fred Anthony Marco and Frank Schiro is sure to delight audiences as they’re transported to the “Eggs” on Long Island during the Jazz age. More info at www.mltlive.org.

The spotlight is a weekly feature published in partnership with Discover Marblehead. Discover Marblehead is dedicated to the promotion of Marblehead.

Its mission is to highlight local businesses, tourism, community events and attractions through social media, email marketing and community outreach. To learn more, visit discovermhd.com.

Melissa Stacey
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