Kate Hancock is one of those East Choppers that make the Island work. She is the production manager of the Island Playhouse. Kate is a lifelong summer resident of East Chop who moved here permanently with her husband Fred, a technical director and lighting designer, the principal behind Upfront Production Services, in July of 2005.
Kate has been involved professionally in the theater for the last 40 years as an elementary school teacher and stage manager. She came to the Vineyard in 2005, however, with the dream of focusing on her writing. She has written a musical and a novel for children, but her passion is creating lyrics for musicals.
Her most pressing challenge as a writer is her Vineyard Playhouse job which is full-time and then some. The Playhouse is a unique community theater in that it does not perform the tried and true, but focuses instead on the new and innovative. The Playhouse is performing Rising Water, a new play by John Briquenet. Rising Water is a touching love story about a couple trapped in the attic in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. It is Kate’s job to make each scene work in terms of props, lighting and sound.
It may surprise some residents to learn that the Playhouse operates year-round. It is also a community theater in the best sense in that it focuses on Cape and Island writers. Finally, it offers an intensive 11-week, hands-on theatre program for all Island fourth graders. As a nonprofit organization in the arts, the Vineyard Playhouse is always looking for financial help. If you would like to donate, please call Kate at 508-693-6450 extension 19.
Judy Cunniffe is excited to have Finn, three, Kiera, two, and Isla Grace, eight weeks, join them for nine days over the Fourth of July. Grandfather Dave is excited too. He has volunteered to supervise nap time. Parents Casey and Jen Cunniffe work together at Time Inc., and live in Norwalk, Conn.
Marion Dripps Harris is here with her family, husband David Harris, and their three children Aiden, seven, Ian, four, and Emelyn, two, for an extended visit. Dave is the president and chief executive officer of The Mind Trust, a nonprofit educational organization in Indianapolis, Ind. Dave founded the organization two years ago, and has already raised more than $7 million to promote innovation and entrepreneurial reforms in the Indianapolis school system. While on the Vineyard, Dave is taking advantage of a less hectic schedule to work on a book he is writing with the former mayor of Indianapolis, Bart Peterson, on the politics of education reform.
It’s all about activities at the East Chop Beach Club this summer, according to manager Lisa Knight. Kids’ activities will take place each day, and include crafts, wiffle ball, Marco Polo, and treasure hunts. One night each week the Club will organize such events as beach croquet, sand candle making, and movies. Swim team races will be held once a week.
On Friday night, Betsy Perrine will serve hors d’oeuvres (you bring your own alcohol), which will be combined with kids’ activities on the beach. The traditional Fourth of July Picnic will be held on Friday, July 4 beginning at 6 p.m. Betsy will be serving shish kabobs. All members are encouraged to attend.
Lighthouse keeper Rob Hammett reports that the East Chop Light will be open for viewing each Sunday evening an hour and a half before sunset until a half hour after sunset. There is a suggested donation of $5 for people 12 and older. Members of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum are admitted free of charge. The East Chop Light was recently renovated with funds provided by the Oak Bluffs Community Preservation Committee and donations from friends of the East Chop Light and memorial gifts in honor of Nancy Stephens and Jane Herrick Ryan. The renovation was supervised by Craig Dripps of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
Finally, last week Lyn Herrick shot a hole-in-one at the Edgartown Golf Club. It was her instinct to hide this remarkable feat (buying all those free drinks can be expensive), but fortunately it was witnessed by her husband, her son, and Mark Hess, the club manager.