Ogunquit Playhouse
Route 1, Ogunquit, Maine
E-mail: boxoffice@ogunquitplayhouse.org


History of Ogunquit Playhouse
Broadway showman Walter Hartwig launched a summer playhouse in Ogunquit in 1933 in a renovated garage in the town square. The town’s popularity as a summer resort and art colony convinced him to bring his Manhattan Theater Colony to Ogunquit, and he, in turn, convinced such theater legends as Maude Adams, Ethel Barrymore and Laurette Taylor to star with a resident company.


The theater’s success soon created a need for larger quarters. So Hartwig bought the old Ware Farm on Route 1, just south of town, and built the new Ogunquit Playhouse, which offered comfortable seating, a convenient location, superb acoustics and up-to-date equipment.


The playhouse opened on July 17, 1937, and with headline stars and carefully selected outstanding plays, it thrived. After Hartwig’s death in 1941, his wife Maude took over as producer; she was joined in 1950 by John Lane, a young actor and general manager.


Lane acquired the theater and land from Maude upon her retirement in 1951. Joined by a new business partner, Henry Weller, they embarked on a long-range plan of modernizing and improving the building and grounds. Thanks to his direction, generations of theatergoers enjoyed the finest professional actors performing in Broadway’s best shows.


After four and a half decades as owner and producer, John Lane decided to retire. To perpetuate the playhouse, in 1994 he spearheaded the formation of the Ogunquit Playhouse Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to “preserve and maintain the Ogunquit Playhouse as a community-based performing-arts center.” Lane transferred ownership to the foundation in September 1997. John Lane passed away in 2000, but his legacy will endure for generations to come.


Leavitt Theatre

295 Main St. (Rte.1), Ogunquit



580-seat historic theater. Features films and other entertainment, May through September.


Hackmatack Playhouse
538 School Street (Route 9), Berwick

E-mail: hackplayhouse@aol.com


History of Hackmatack Playhouse

Summer theater hosts several productions from mid-June through Labor Day.


Hackmatack Playhouse was founded in 1972 by the late S. Carleton Guptill. After years of organizing local theater groups that performed at the Beaver Dam Grange hall, he envisioned a summer stock theater that would showcase the talents of professional and developing thespians from the region.


Hackmatack is located at the Guptill family farmstead on property that has been in the family since the mid-1600s. Prior to establishment of the theater, the property was a functioning farm. The oldest building, the “woodshed,” was once used as a slaughter house and for drying meat; it now serves a rehearsal space and a prop storage. The former lumber mill across the orchard from the woodshed houses the theater’s shop operations and its costume collection. Performances are held in the barn, which was expanded in the early 1980s to accommodate the 218 seats the theatre houses today.


A colorful rumor once circulated that, in its first season, patrons sat on hay bales to watch the show but, in fact, the original playhouse had seats salvaged from a Durham, New Hampshire, movie theater.


After the founder’s death in 1995, the S. Carleton Guptill Memorial Fund was established to preserve and improve the historic buildings. The fund also is dedicated to promoting dramatic arts for the participants and the community and to providing “quality family entertainment and drama at a reasonable price.” Contributions are always welcome.


Biddeford City Theater

205 Main St., Biddeford



Restored 1860 opera house, hosts plays, music and dance, with a year-round season.


Saco River Theatre

29 Salmon Falls Rd., Buxton



Open most of the year. Hosts a variety of events, including live music, dance, and plays presented by The Originals, the theater’s resident company.