WHAT's Iconic Theater on Wellfleet Harbor to Close
By: Courtesy WHAT, January 18, 2012
WHAT - The Harbor Stage of the Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theater has brought innovative theater to the Wellfleet waterfront since 1985.
The Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theater board of directors learned today that the lease for its long-time summer venue, the Harbor Stage, will not be renewed.
“The board has felt for some time that the landlord had alternative plans for the harbor building. We have planned for that eventuality and look forward to a new era at WHAT that will fully utilize our state of the art facility,” said Bruce Bierhans, who came on board as president, CEO and co-chair of the WHAT board earlier this month.
WHAT’s Harbor Stage has been a mainstay for summer theatergoers since 1985 when a few dynamic, aspiring local actors and playwrights knocked down some walls in an old nightclub and mounted a production of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros. It was just a one-shot event, or so they thought.
More than 27 years, 180 productions and dozens of world, American and New England premieres later, WHAT has built a national reputation for its professional Equity productions, provocative choices, and intimate explorations.
“Artistically, focusing on the Julie Harris Stage changes things somewhat, but this venue allows us to do so much more than we could in such a small space. This season we’ll be returning to our adventurous roots and the timing of WHAT's renaissance couldn’t be better,” said Mark Hough, executive director.
Although the 2012 season has not been released, its planning is already underway.
“The loss is bittersweet; the Harbor Stage is where our reputation was built,” said Hough. “Focusing on one year-round theater will allow us to continue to develop and evolve a consistent brand and venue, a challenge we have faced since the Julie Harris Stage was dedicated in 2007.”
A series of culminating events are in the works and those who have loved watching and experiencing intimate art and live theater will hopefully have the opportunity for a fond farewell.
A public and community asset since 1985, WHAT is the region’s only professional equity theatre and presents year-round programming advancing and preserving the art of the theater for the education and appreciation of the community.