A New Playhouse for Main Street Productions, Inc.
October 22, 2019 Update
The official ground breaking for the new playhouse took place on October 22.
Main Street Productions has a 28 year history of providing quality community theatre to the city of Westfield. It has been our honor over the years to be a part of this growing and thriving community.
Once established in 1991 as the Westfield-Washington Township Theatrical Society, the first board of directors was ready to meet and begin sharing their love of theatre. That first board had ten founding members.
With a strong leadership established, we were ready to go out and perform our first show. The first production of the Westfield-Washington Township Theatrical Society was The Prisoner of Second Avenue by Neil Simon. Later in 1995 the group changed the name to Main Street Productions, Inc. and that is the name we still have today.
Cast of Our Town - 1994
Over the first few years, several productions were performed all over Westfield. We performed in churches and restaurants, schools and the courthouse. We even performed in the theatre that was once on N. Union.
It can be fun and exciting to do shows in different locations, but this group needed a place to call home. In 1996 the current playhouse in Eagletown was purchased, but it would be a few more years before the renovations could be completed to offer shows.
Ten years after that first production, Main Street Productions, Inc. produced their first show in their own playhouse. The show was The Civil War by Gregory Boyd and Frank Wildhorn, with lyrics by Jack Murphy and music by Wildhorn. Since that day, we have performed over 75 productions at Westfield Playhouse. We have also been involved in the community of Westfield by participating in Voices From the Past, Westfield in Lights, Westfield Rocks the 4th, the Westfield Arts Alliance, and Chamber of Commerce functions. MSP was awarded the Chamber Lantern Award for Outstanding Community Organization in 2015 and the Westfield Parks Department Business of the Year award in 2016.
Cast of Charlotte's Web - 2018
Each summer our annual youth productions give the young actors in our community a chance to stretch their acting skills, learn more about an art form they love, and develop friendships with others who share their passion.
Jadin Payton, who has participated in past youth productions, loves working with MSP. "I have deeply enjoyed working with Westfield Playhouse. This theatre has given me the opportunity to work with new people I would not have met if I only did shows at my high school."
In multiple educational studies, participating in an art-based activity such as theatre has been linked to better performance in reading, math, and other academics.
We have had 12 wonderful years in the Westfield Playhouse, but the time has come for us to look to greater things. So it is with a mix of sadness and excitement that we announce that we will be moving to a new 160 seat, handicap accessible playhouse beginning with the 2019/2020 season.
Current Playhouse in Eagletown
The dream of a playhouse where we can do bigger productions and musicals with up to date equipment, running water, and storage space has been in our hearts for years. When the Grand Junction Park held its first organizational meetings several years ago, MSP was there and was asked to help in the layout with the theater coming Downtown. The Westfield Arts Alliance was formed in 2013 and MSP was asked to become part of bringing art to downtown with the encouragement of Mayor Cook, Councilman Ake and the City Council. Teresa Skelton and the DWA helped the impetus. The final push to get MSP downtown has been accomplished thanks to the driving force of MSP Board member Tom Smith and developer Paul Estridge. We give great praise to their hard work and effort to get this accomplished.
In early 2018 the Board of Directors, consisting of John Sampson, Jan Jamison, Thom Johnson, Kate Hinman, Kevin Shadle, Bill Miller, Jen Otterman, Doug Davis, Rich Steinberg, Tom Smith, and Brandi Davis met and voted to move forward with the building of a new playhouse and fundraising began.
In a show of faith in the project, each member of the board made a financial contribution to kick off the fundraising phase. Through private donations and grants, we are now just over half way to the funding we need to build a new playhouse located in downtown Westfield. We are still in need of $250,000, much of which we hope to raise through grant opportunities and donations of materials and construction work. It is our hope that our friends and theatre community will help us raise $25,000 of the total amount we still need.
If you have enjoyed our productions over the years as a member of the community, an actor who has appeared on our stage, or as part of the technical crew of a production, please consider giving a donation in any amount to help us reach our goal.
We are almost there, we just need you to help us over the finish line.
Anyone who gives $100 or more will be mentioned in the 2019 season program.
Any donor that gives $1,000 or more will receive a brass plaque inscribed with your family or business name on a chair at the new playhouse!
Thank you for being a part of our theatre family and making it possible for us to continue to bring theatre to the community of Westfield.