If it’s quality summer stock theatre you’re looking for, you’ve found it. Here’s our list of some of the best summer playhouses and theaters in New England.
By Chris Burnett
Jul 01 2022
No matter if it’s in an old, renovated barn in the boonies or in a brick theater downtown, summer stock theatre is a beloved seasonal pastime that’s especially popular in New England. The region is home to some of the oldest and most-respected summer playhouses in the country, and these theaters put on a wide range of shows—from comedies to operettas. We’ve put together a list of some of the best summer playhouses and theaters in New England.
The Clay & Wattles Theater Company performs on the beautiful grounds of the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis. Traditionally, the Company puts on a play and two musicals every summer.
249 Flanders Rd., Bethlehem, CT. 203-273-5669; thegarytheolivia.com.
Known as the first self-supporting summer theater in the country, the Ivoryton Playhouse produces quality theater from spring to fall.
103 Main St., Ivoryton, CT. 860-767-7318; ivorytonplayhouse.org.
The Sharon Playhouse presents acclaimed plays and musicals on its stages throughout the summer months. After each performance, late-night cabarets are offered outside on the theater’s open-air patio.
49 Amenia Rd., Sharon, CT. 860-364-7469; sharonplayhouse.org.
The Westport Country Playhouse was revitalized in 2000, making the theater into a modern beauty. The playhouse’s performers put on a number of plays and musicals all summer long.
25 Powers Court, Westport, CT. 203-227-4177; westportplayhouse.org.
The Acadia Repertory Theatre, located only 20 minutes outside Bar Harbor, puts on a wide variety of plays during its summer season, which runs from June to September.
1154 Main St., Mt. Desert, ME. 207-244-7260; acadiarep.com.
From June to August, the Deertrees Theatre offers plays and other performances in a historic theater designed in the 1930s with acoustics specifically in mind.
156 Deertrees Rd., Harrison, ME. 207-583-6747; deertrees-theatre.org.
The Hackmatack Playhouse puts on its shows in a beautifully renovated barn from the early twentieth century. It offers an authentic, small-town summer theater experience.
538 School St., Berwick, ME. 207-698-1807; hackmatack.org.
In operation since 1901 and designated the State Theater of Maine in 1967, the Lakewood Theater presents a variety of shows every summer from May to September on its beautiful and historic grounds.
76 Theatre Rd., Madison, ME. 207-474-7176; lakewoodtheater.org.
Performing at the Pickard Theater on the grounds of Bowdoin College, the Maine State Music Theatre presents a generous selection of dazzling musical productions from June to September.
Pickard Theater, 1 Bath Rd., Brunswick, ME. 207-725-8769; msmt.org.
The beautifully unique playhouse, combined with the excellent productions put on within it, make for an unforgettable experience at the Ogunquit Playhouse—one of the oldest summer theaters in the nation.
10 Main St., Ogunquit ME. 207-646-5511; ogunquitplayhouse.org.
The Barrington Stage Company presents its plays and musicals to great acclaim at its two performance locations—both of which are located in the heart of downtown Pittsfield.
30 Union St., Pittsfield, MA. 413-236-8888; barringtonstageco.org.
In Stockbridge, the Fitzpatrick Main Stage is an iconic 1928 venue that brings in classical productions and world premieres every summer, while the smaller Unicorn Theatre presents experimental and avant-garde work. In Pittsfield, the Colonial Theatre is the go-to for summer musicals.
83 E. Main St., Stockbridge; 6 East St., Stockbridge; 111 South St., Pittsfield. 413-997-4444; berkshiretheatregroup.org
The Cape Playhouse—gracing Cape Cod with its exceptional productions since 1927—has been the summer workspace of a number of famous Broadway actors and actresses throughout its storied past.
820 Main St., Dennis, MA. 877-385-3911; capeplayhouse.com.
The Chester Theatre Company prides itself in presenting contemporary and pensive productions that will surely leave you both entertained and in deep thought.
Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Rd., Chester, MA. 413-354-7771; chestertheatre.org.
Providing southern Cape Cod with musicals and operettas throughout the summer, the College Light Opera Company is known to be a great source of high-quality musical entertainment.
58 Highfield Drive, Falmouth, MA. 508-548-0668; collegelightoperacompany.com.
The Gloucester Stage Company performs a variety of captivating productions in a theater located right on the shore of Smith Cove.
267 East Main St., Gloucester, MA. 978-281-4433; gloucesterstage.com.
During the summer months, Chatham’s Monomoy Theatre puts on an extensive selection of plays in its quaint, classically-Cape Cod-styled theater.
776 Main St., Chatham, MA. 508-945-1589; monomoytheatre.org.
By offering a unique selection of contemporary and classic plays throughout the summer months, the New Century Theatre allows its professional and emerging actors to show off their true talent.
122 Green St., Northampton, MA. 413-585-3220; newcenturytheatre.org.
Founded in 1956, the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket provides quality summer entertainment for both guests and inhabitants of the popular vacation spot.
62 Centre St., Nantucket, MA. 508-228-4305; theatreworkshop.com.
Every summer, the Williamstown Theatre Festival hosts a variety of both new and old plays featuring award-winning actors who are sure to entertain.
’62 Center for Theatre and Dance,1000 Main St., Williamstown, MA. wtfestival.org.
One of the oldest summer theaters in the country, The Barnstormers acquired its reputation for excellence by regularly putting on high-quality plays featuring talented actors.
104 Main St., Tamworth, NH. 603-323-8500; barnstormerstheatre.org.
From June to August, the Interlakes Summer Theatre provides delightful musical theater productions in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.
1 Laker Lane, Meredith, NH. 603-707-6035; interlakestheatre.com.
The Little Church Theater started out as a tiny Catholic chapel, but today it acts as an intimate setting for a variety of performances throughout the summer months.
40 Route 113, Holderness, NH. 603-968-2250; littlechurchtheater.com.
Founded in 1933, the New London Barn Playhouse is known for being the longest continuously operating summer stock theater in New Hampshire. A variety of musicals and plays can be enjoyed at the playhouse from June to September.
84 Main St., New London, NH. 603-526-6710; nlbarn.org.
A renovated eighteenth-century barn houses the Peterborough Players’ productions, acting as a rustic and unique backdrop for the theater’s plays, which the company has been putting on—to great acclaim—for nearly eight decades.
55 Hadley Rd., Peterborough, NH. 603-924-7585; peterboroughplayers.org.
The Players’ Ring Theatre is housed in a nineteenth-century red brick building adjacent to the grounds of the Strawberry Banke Museum. Every summer, it offers a series of original plays in its intimate, 75-seat theater space.
105 Marcy St., Portsmouth, NH. 603-436-8123; playersring.org.
The number of plays the Weathervane Theatre puts on in a span of only a couple months is comparable to that of a theater twice its size. Rather than offer one play for a set number of weeks, this theater has a repertoire of plays—a selection of which it performs every week.
389 Lancaster Rd., Whitefield, NH. 603-837-9322 (summer only); wvtheatreplayersnh.org.
This quaint theater, located only minutes from the Rhode Island coast, presents a series of musical performances and children’s theater from June to September.
364 Cards Pond Rd., Wakefield, RI. 401-782-8587; theatrebythesea.com.
Located in a rustic theater in a picturesque Vermont town, the Dorset Theatre Festival presents engaging summer theater from June to September.
104 Cheney Rd., Dorset, VT. 802-867-2223; dorsettheatrefestival.org.
The Lost Nation Theater in downtown Montpelier puts on a variety of compelling plays for both children and adults during its summer season.
39 Main St., Montpelier, VT. 802-229-0492; lostnationtheater.org.
The Oldcastle Theatre Company offers both contemporary and classic productions in its downtown-Bennington theater throughout the summer.
331 Main St., Bennington, VT. 802-447-0564; oldcastletheatre.org.
Started in 1946, Saint Michael’s Playhouse is known to be a great source of theatrical entertainment for the greater Burlington area.
1 Winooski Park, Colchester, VT. 802-654-2281; saintmichaelsplayhouse.org.
The Weston Playhouse’s beautifully-designed, Greek revival theater is a sight to behold. A wide variety of plays are performed on the playhouse’s stage throughout the summer.
703 Main St., Weston, VT. 802-824-5288; westonplayhouse.org.
Where is your favorite New England summer playhouse?
This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.