Andy’s Summer Playhouse
King Arthur Strike/Lost World Load-in
Closing night of King Arthur from pre-show through strike and load-in for The Lost World at Andy’s Summer Playhouse.
Andy’s Summer Playhouse programs foster creative collaborations between children and professional artists who work in a variety of media: performance art, theater, dance, music, puppetry, video, set and lighting design and playwriting. In its years of existence, Andy’s Summer Playhouse has grown from one summer play, produced by two school teachers, to its current state as a fully equipped summer theater, with a staff of over 15 professional artists, involving over 100 children and over 3,000 audience members each year. In addition to its unique mission to create original work for children, the theater boasts a number of well-known alumni and staff, including several Bessie Award and Obie Award winning artists, Emmy Award winning artists Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, and Caldecott Medal winning authors Brian Selznick and Elizabeth Orton Jones.
Named after children’s book illustrator Clarence William Anderson, Andy’s was founded in 1971 by two teachers at the Mascenic Regional School, Margaret Sawyer and William Williams. The Playhouse found its first home in Mason, New Hampshire, and was later relocated to a historic meeting house in Wilton. From 1980 to 1993, the playhouse grew under the artistic direction of Dan Hurlin, who attracted a number of internationally recognized artists from PS 122, 8BC, The Kitchen, and other avant-garde theatre venues in New York City. In 1994, Robert Lawson took over as Artistic Director and served until 2007. The theater is currently led by Artistic Director DJ Potter and Executive Director Alexandra Urbanowski.
Andy’s sits on the site of the original meeting house of Wilton, a log structure built in 1752 but then torn down and replaced with a larger meeting house in 1779. The second meeting house served the town for 80 years until it burned down in 1859. The town voted to build a third meeting house (the building that stands today) on the same spot, at a cost “not to exceed $2,500” and the building was completed in 1860. The original Paul Revere and Sons bell damaged in the fire was recast by Henry Northey Hooper & Sons of Boston and placed in the new building, where it remains today in the bell tower. In 1883, the town moved its business to a new Town Hall located several miles to the east in what is now downtown Wilton, so the current building was sold in 1884 to a group of interested citizens and renamed Citizens Hall. It served for many years as a public meeting hall, and was taken over by the Advanced Grange organization in 1925, and then by Wilton Lions Club in 1968. The Pine Hill Waldorf School bought the building in 1978 and for several years ran a school on the site. It was sold to Andy’s Summer Playhouse on August 11, 1985.