The mission of Stoneham Theatre is to keep the art of professional theatre and dramatic education thriving in the suburbs.
Stoneham Theatre encourages first-time and seasoned audiences to experience the excitement of live professional theatre in an intimate setting. With seven Mainstage plays and musicals each season, a diverse array of Special Events, and year-round theatrical training and performance opportunities for students in grades 1-12, Stoneham Theatre keeps the arts thriving in the suburbs.
For years, Stoneham Square suffered with a vacant cultural space as the once-vibrant silent movie venue, Stoneham Theatre, stood decayed and abandoned. Since a massive renovation in 2000, Stoneham Theatre has provided an economic boon to its community. As it has grown, the Theatre has increasingly enhanced its mission by blending the artistic excellence of its professional Mainstage with its young company, a year-round theatrical training program, and a popular concert series.
The Theatre opened with "A Christmas Carol" in the winter of 2000 with instant success, attracting 33,000 people in its first full season and further reinforcing the need for the professional arts in Boston suburban communities. Stoneham Theatre has stayed true to its original mission of balancing each season with well-known shows and new productions.
Since Stoneham Theatre’s inception, it has maintained its own scene shop, currently in Stoneham High School. This allows the Theatre to construct its own sets. By hiring Boston-based actors, directors, designers, and crew, Stoneham Theatre continues to reinforce its commitment to its community.
Stoneham Theatre realized the need for a theatrical training program outside of the school system. Through acting, singing and dancing classes, students in grades 1 – 12 learn communication tactics, develop socialization skills and build confidence in themselves and others, allowing them to achieve excellence. Now, the young company education program enrolls over 250 students each year through a summer program, ongoing classes, workshops, and voice lessons during the school year, Spring Shakespeare, and a winter festival.
Stoneham Theatre has been named the fifth largest performing arts organization in the Greater Boston area (2011-2012). Patrons value our accessibility, warm atmosphere, affordable prices and professional shows. Our location at the crossroads of Routes 93 and 95, partnered with our complimentary parking and restaurants within walking distance, make Stoneham Theatre a destination. The combination of beloved classics, musicals and new and premiere works is a formula we hope will create new theatre-goers. We are proud of our ability to present rare or new work and expose our audience to a variety of theatre, from musicals to dramas to straight plays.
One of Boston’s five largest performing arts organizations (Boston Business Journal 2011 & 2012), Stoneham Theatre is a professional regional theatre that introduces a diverse theatrical canon of old and new favorites to our suburban audience in an intimate and inviting setting. Our seasons include everything from Broadway classics to undiscovered gems and world premiere plays. The Theatre’s affordability and setting are enhanced by its area restaurants and free parking. We continue to attract a wide audience, provided a well-balanced performance season, and keep our shows both affordable and accessible. The theatre is a community gathering place, a cultural center for the Metro North of Boston region, and an economic stronghold for Stoneham.
Our comprehensive young company educational program offers world-class year-round theatrical training to students ages 5-18.
Stoneham Theatre is also home to the Atelier Gallery, a satellite gallery of the Griffin Museum of Photography.
• "Meet Me in St. Louis", our 2014 holiday musical, was our highest grossing show of all time and was seen by over 9000 patrons during 33 performances.
• In 2014, we employed over 150 actors, musicians, technicians, carpenters, educators, and administrators and had 250 students enrolled in our young company theatre education program last year.
• Stoneham Theatre received the 2014 Elliot Norton Award for Ilyse Robbins, Outstanding Director, Midsize Theatre, for "Thoroughly Modern Millie".
Metropolitan theatre offerings in a suburban atmosphere: We believe suburban residents want the professional theatre offerings found in Boston and Cambridge offered here 9 miles north of Boston, where the atmosphere is friendly, welcoming and offers a boost to local economy. Your donation provides the solid foundation to explore new and premiere works in addition to beloved family classics and holiday shows, so that we are not over-focused on generating revenue, but focused on our mission.
young company Fund-A-Need: Each season, Stoneham Theatre raises money from individual donors to support financial aid for students participating in our young company program. We have a policy of ensuring that every student is able to participate, regardless of financial need, so all donations to our "Fund-A-Need" program contribute to our ability to fulfill that promise.
Capital Buildings Costs: As Stoneham Theatre presents its 16th season, a capital plan costing approximately $25,000 has been formulated to improve and repair various capital items, including: remodeling the actor dressing rooms/floors, inspecting/ repairing the lighting trusses, and many other maintenance items that come along with 15 years of use of a renovated building nearly 100 years old.
Student Subsidy Program: $20 student tickets are offered for all Mainstage productions and $10 student tickets to all young company productions. We are seeking funding to support this plan as the lowered student cost will create a new generation of theatre-goers.
Supporting Educational Opportunities in the north suburban communities: All sets that appear on Stoneham Theatre's stage are built at Stoneham High School. Through a partnership with Stoneham Public Schools, our rent directly supports educational opportunities in Stoneham. A gift of $9,000 would fulfill our rent obligation for twelve months and help further support public education in Stoneham at the same time.
I first walked through the doors of Stoneham Theatre in November 2000. I was interviewing for a position as an Assistant Stage Manager for the yet-to-be-opened company's first production of "A Christmas Carol." How intriguing it was to be in a theatre where the carpeting had just been rolled out, the seats had just been installed, and there was no floor on the stage. Stoneham Theatre has come a long way in the past 15 years, in terms of the physical space, the size of our audience, and the breadth of what we are able to offer. After holding the Assistant Stage Manager job for 3 years, serving on the Board of Trustees for 6 years, and training in arts administration in the Boston area, I was thrilled to return to this company in November 2012, almost exactly 12 years after I first arrived, as the Managing Director. Stoneham Theatre feels like home.
Stoneham Theatre satisfies a unique need for its audience. Located ten miles from Boston’s downtown, the Theatre draws the bulk of its audience from 10 neighboring communities and provides professional theatre for a suburban audience, many of whom are seeing locally-produced regional theatre for the first time. Because of this, in selecting the seven productions that comprise our professional Mainstage series and the nine productions that make up our two young company festivals, we endeavor to reach as many tastes as our market makes available, including traditional Broadway-style musicals, family-oriented holiday fare, genre thrillers, new plays, overlooked works by classic playwrights, offbeat new musicals and work devised by students and company members.
Our young company is also a truly exceptional program. Each year, more than 250 students participate in classes, workshops, voice lessons, and fully-staged productions that teach them theatre but also expose them to important life skills. Many of those students have an opportunity to perform in one of our professional productions. When the "young company comes to Mainstage," they get a professional experience that they may not have access to anywhere else. Our year-round program is distinct for its curriculum and overall experience.
Stoneham Theatre also offers a concert series. Each season, we host live music from a variety of genres. We've had solo singers, groups and large bands in every style, from jazz to big band to tribute acts.
Stoneham Theatre is a true gem in its community, and I'm proud that we offer a little something for everyone.
Board Chair Statement
Stoneham Theatre is nowhere near where I live. Yet, as someone who works in Stoneham and values this community, I chose to be involved in Stoneham Theatre because I believe in its mission. I value professional regional theatre and the wide array of shows that Stoneham Theatre brings to the metro-North community. I have experienced the cultural void that existed before Stoneham Theatre opened, and the need that the Theatre fills today. Stoneham Theatre is accessible, easy and fantastic. For some, a night at the Theatre is an incredible evening out; for others, it’s a simply a fun thing to do. Look around the orchestra on a Saturday night and you will see people in jeans and t-shirts, fancy dresses and diamonds. You will see teenagers and senior citizens. You will see the smiles and the chatter and feel the welcoming atmosphere that is Stoneham Theatre.
Since the Theatre’s inception in 2000, we have been a success. We have continued to raise revenues and become more and more financially responsible. Over the past three years, we've paid down outstanding debt and continued to operate on a conservative budget. Yet, we, like many other nonprofit organizations, need to continue to raise revenues and maintain a realistic and consistent cost structure.
Our mission promotes a mixture of shows, those that are known and those that are unknown. If we could justify the budget, we would love to be producing only rare or lesser-known shows, but when looking at the financials, better-known shows such as "42ndStreet" and "Meet Me in St. Louis" directly impact the bottom line favorably, making the organization more fiscally feasible.
Philanthropy continues to be both a success and challenge for Stoneham Theatre. We continue to grow individual, corporate and foundation support each year. As we look towards the future, increased giving will become more crucial to our success. Opportunities like the Giving Common Challenge help to encourage our ticket buyers and patrons to donate, better understand our mission, and become more engaged with Stoneham Theatre as a community asset.
We grow our attendance each year and are working to diversify our audience by bringing in people of all ages. We are proud that we have been named, for the second season in a row, the fifth largest performing arts organization in the Greater Boston region. We will continue to work to bring in more and more audience members, especially cultural consumers that are post-college/pre-family (20’s and 30’s) and empty-nesters.
We know that our young company is wildly successful, both financially and in fulfilling its goals of empowering students and teaching life skills using acting and theatre techniques. We are slowly and strategically expanding our youth programming, careful to not take on too much at once so that we can evaluate and reflect on what is and is not working as we move forward. We always want to better integrate our young company families with our professional productions, and we are working towards promotions that will encourage parents to attend our Mainstage shows regularly.