Going Au Naturel for His Art
Heidi Sistare

Artist Tom Smith is almost breathless when he talks about his work.

“I love the line between what is formal, designed, almost constricted — and what is natural and rank,” he said. “I love the border between the cultivated and the wild.”

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Stars Align for Vineyard Playhouse
Olivia Hull
Mary Steenburgen saw her first play at a community theatre in Arkansas where she grew up. It was the Music Man, performed by a travelling company and she was instantly captivated.

“I literally could not breathe,” she said in an interview with the Gazette at her home in Chilmark. “I was so transported by it, and it meant so much to me.”

Ms. Steenburgen grew up in a home with “fairly modest means,” and found refuge from family and life challenges in the audience, on the stage and in the wings of the community theatre.

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Vineyard Playhouse Half Complete, Show Will Go On Elsewhere This Summer
Ivy Ashe

It’s been 180 years since the Vineyard Playhouse building was first built on Church street in Tisbury. For the past three years, the playhouse staff and board of directors have been hard at work ensuring that it stands another two centuries. Construction is scheduled to wrap this week on the downstairs portion of the two-story building, allowing the playhouse to invite people in for the first time since 2011.

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Arts, Grants, Designations Aplenty in Vineyard Haven
Ivy Ashe
The arts took center stage in Vineyard Haven this week as three cultural organizations received grants from the state. Selectmen also voted to approve creating an application to form the Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District.

On Monday, the Vineyard Playhouse, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center were awarded capital grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. Of the 10 projects funded in the southeast region, three are in Vineyard Haven.

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Island Theatre Workshop and Vineyard Playhouse Auditions Begin

Calling all Island thespians: it’s audition weekend and time to strut your inner scarecrow, mad monkey or one of Shakespeare’s finest.

The Island Theatre Workshop will be putting on a late summer production of The Wizard of Oz and they are currently on the prowl for principal actors. Auditions began on Thursday and continue on Saturday, May 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. at 12 Music street in West Tisbury. For more information, call 508-627-2456 or 508-737-8550.

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Playhouse Fundraiser
Last year the Vineyard Playhouse began an ambitious capital campaign to refurbish the theatre in Vineyard Haven. Because of construction the house was dark last summer, although the show did go on at several other locations throughout the Island. This summer the downstairs area of the Playhouse will open. Funds are still being raised, though, to complete the main stage upstairs, renamed the Patricia Neal Stage. For those on the West Coast there will be a fundraiser on May 4 in Los Angeles at the home of Ms. Neal’s daughter, Lucy Dahl. The party is from 6 to 8 p.m. at 357 S.
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Children Go Backstage
Chris Burrell
Amy Sertl looks like a pro. She's only 10, but the strip of measuring tape dangling from her shoulders is not just a silly prop. Miss Sertl is part of the costuming team at the Vineyard Playhouse, and she's got that tape now cinched around Sarah Felder's cranium.
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Playhouse Launches Capital Campaign

Playhouse Launches Campaign

The home of the Vineyard Playhouse stood strong through nearly two centuries of Vineyard life. Leaders and friends of this small professional theatre want to ensure it stands secure for centuries to come.

Built in 1833 on a pasture donated by Capt. William Daggett, the Playhouse wears the scars of time. A survey of the building reveals rotting, chipping and holes.

"It looks like somebody didn't do anything for 20 years," Playhouse managing director Josh Sommer said.

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On Stage: Playhouse Hosts Spring Festival of Short Works
Julia Rappaport

About a week ago, Trudy Russell was sitting at her Olivetti Lettera 25 typewriter with her morning cup of coffee when the phone rang. The woman on the other line introduced herself as M.J. Munafo and told Mrs. Russell that her play, Closure, had been selected for the Vineyard Playhouse spring festival, Island Interludes.

Mrs. Russell had no idea what she was talking about.

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Playhouse Begins Capital Campaign To Continue Restoration of Theatre
Jonah Lipsky

The Vineyard Playhouse hopes to raise $1 million this summer in the first phase of a $5 million capital campaign that encompasses the renovation, restoration and expansion of the historic theatre on Church street in Vineyard Haven.

The restoration already has begun. With Community Preservation Act funds and private donations, the playhouse has installed new wood clapboard siding and windows on three sides of the building, and a new fire-safety sprinkler system.

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