History of the Ogunquit Playhouse

  • The Little Theatre Movement

    The Little Theatre Movement
    Large commercial theatres were diminishing and small local theatre was taking over in America. Many small buisiness owners were jumping at the opportunity to create small theatres in their home towns. Broadway was moving from New York City to bordering towns and spreading all the way to costal towns.
  • Growth of the "Summer Theatre"

    Growth of the "Summer Theatre"
    Summer theatres became popular around New England, Vermont, New York and New Jersey. As commercial theatre broke down into smaller seasonal theatres, so did the colonies of actors and actresses and the big coorperate groups surrounding the big theatres. This is the RKO theatre in New York City, 1935
  • Founding of the Playhouse

    Founding of the Playhouse
    The Manhattan Theatre Colony was created by Walter Hartwig and he brought the participants out to Ogunquit. This started the kick-off of local attraction to the small theatre. The move from an old garage in the middle of town to the current building on rt.1 was also important in the success of the playhouse. Boy Meets Girl was the first production!
  • Construction of a Seasonal Theatre

    Construction of a Seasonal Theatre
    The Ogunquit Playhouse was the first and only of it's time to be built purposly as a "seasonal" theatre. The origional building has been added to and also remodeled but is in the same position as it was when it was built.

    turbulent years for any small playhouse or theatre- but the Ogunquit Playhouse pulled through and stayed open becuase of the efforts of volunteers, a supportive community and the wonderful actors and actresses that participated in plays and shows!
  • With Walter Hartwig’s death

    With Walter Hartwig’s death
    the legacy was passed from husband to wife after Hatrwig's death.
  • Period: to

    Maude Hartwig ran the show!

    When Walter died, his wife took over the ownership of the playhouse until John Lane and his wife Helen bought the thatre.
  • Period: to

    John Lane and his Wife bought the Playhouse

    John Lane did an amazing job running the theatre and increasing buisiness. These are referred to as, "The Golden Period."
  • John Lane retired

    John Lane retired
  • A gift to the town

    A gift to the town
    The playhouse was offered to the town of Ogunquit as a gift from John Lane. He created the Ogunquit Playhouse non-profit foundation and left it to the visitors and citizens of the town. He raised $500,000 before he died to maintain the building and premises.
  • Added to the National Register of Hisotric Places

    Added to the National Register of Hisotric Places
    The Ogunquit Playhouse was deemed worthy of historical preservation by the US government. The National Register of Hisotric places protects different plots of historically rich land, buildings and objects nationally. The playhouse is so rich with history of Maine that it is like a museum of archeological resources.
  • Childrens theatre was created

    Childrens theatre was created
    Every summer childrens theatre camps are open to the public. The colony is set in back of the theatre building. There is also an annual "fairy house building contest" in the wooded area between the theatre and the colony. The public is encouraged to participate in this event to kick off the chilren's acting camps!
  • The Unveiling of the plaque

    The Unveiling of the plaque
    Joe Hill and Henry Weller unveiled the plaque which named the Ogunquit Playhouse to the National Register of Historic Places in the state of Maine.
  • improvements to the infastructure

    improvements to the infastructure
    The playhouse went under a 5 year long construction process which included new handicapt seating, a bigger stage, better rigging backstage, health-code updates for actors and actresses, additions to the property and a new air conditioning system. This is a photo taken of the play "Buddy Holly Story" in 2012
  • Ballroom with a Twist

    Ballroom with a Twist
    Ballroom with a twist came to the playhouse the summer of 2012. This was a thetrical version of hit series Dancing With The Stars. The playouse decided to also do a one-week lomg special event: a non-musical! The tickets were sold out this summer and the summer of 2011.
  • Susan Collins recognizes the playhouse

    Susan Collins recognizes the playhouse
    United States Senate recognizes the fabulous work of all of those at the Ogunquit Playhouse. She wrote a letter to the board of directors saying congratualtions on the 80th anneversary! She said, "From it's starts as a small stock theatre to "Broadway at the Beach," the playhouse continues to be a theatrical gem for all of Maine as well as New England."
  • The Economy

    The Economy
    Bigger theaters were charging 30-40 cents a ticket and the Ogunquit Playhouse was doing the same. Being only a summer theatre, it had to keep up the profits. "Glamour, romance and adventure kept the public's interest" -Hartwig