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A Thriving Theater Scene for Plymouth with the Priscilla Beach Theatre

Theatrical performances can elicit a gamut of emotions. Priscilla Beach Theatre in Plymouth, Massachusetts aims to deliver a wide array of just such poignant shows for its audience, spanning diverse genres. The oldest barn theater still in operation in America, it was founded by Dr. Franklin Trask in 1937 and provided a critical venue for young artists to hone their craft. Serving as a laboratory for aspiring actors, the barn theater welcomed all kinds of performers into its hall.

From musicals like A Chorus Line and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum to classic plays like Noises Off and Arsenic and Old Lace, the theater strives to really affect and move people with their performances. Owner Bob Malone says he aspires "to have audiences leave the theater with a smile on their face." If not a smile, then a tear perhaps.

Priscilla Beach Theatre is located in the beach community of Manomet, which boasts one of the best beaches on the south shore and dramatically picturesque scenery- a perfect setting for the theater. The town of Plymouth is a popular tourist destination with no shortage of visitors. Renowned as the home of the Mayflower II and the first Thanksgiving celebration, the city enjoys flocks of tourists each season. Of course, many visitors come to the town simply to enjoy what the theater has to offer, from classical to more contemporary plays and musicals.

Stepping onto the stage, you are immediately struck by the historical feel of the space and its architectural craftsmanship. Exposed beams and roughly sawn boards capture the spirit of this barn and harken back to simpler times. This spirit isn't any more apparent than in the light of the original 1937 wagon wheel chandelier, which was also renovated and has hung in the same spot all these years. Malone points out that "in preserving the past, we also don't spare the level of comfort that our patrons deserve." Some of the more recent improvements include plush new seating and beautifully renovated modern restrooms.

Currently, the theater offers seven children's workshops throughout the season- there are spring and fall workshops, with rehearsals continuing for a full four weeks. There are five workshops in the summer, with sessions running for two weeks. The workshops consist of twenty to twenty five children, who are taught the process of a production from beginning to end.

In each workshop, the children rehearse, learn, and grow with the guidance of qualified theater professionals. At the culmination of the rehearsal process, they perform the production with all the aspects of a professional theatrical experience- from the lights and sound to the costumes and live audience. Priscilla Beach Theater plays a critical educational role?one of its most important contributions to the community.

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