Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Priscilla Beach Theatre Restoration, Priscilla Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Priscilla Beach Theatre (PBT), which just completed its 78th year, is the oldest barn theatre still in operation in the United States. The ongoing restoration work by owners and guardians Bob and Sandy Malone will be completed in time for next summer's performance season. "Fiddler on the Roof," and "Chicago" are already scheduled. Call 508-224-4888 to get your tickets/reservations now.

Exterior work continues on the decking. (I love the oak tree shadow).

This update is the latest edition of a multi-part series which I began in May 2014 to chronicle this extraordinary project to restore a precious part of our American theatrical heritage. You can read my other blog posts about the construction progress and stage performances by typing "Priscilla Beach" in the search box in the right side column of this blog.

Finish work continues in the interior. This view is from upstage right toward the audience area. The "way-too-bright" construction light has been my nemesis all these months in making interior photos.  I often try to block it with something to reduce the glare.

This view is from mezzanine left toward the stage.  Note the wood saw seemingly suspended in mid-air at the right side of this image.  It is there because I am holding it with my right hand to block the "way-too-bright" light while taking the picture with my left hand.  Note the two men - more on them in a moment.

This view is from audience right toward the stage. 

While the vision (and money) for this restoration are from Bob and Sandy Malone, the owners and guardians of Priscilla Beach Theatre, it is the two men at center from Kelleher Fine Builders, Kingston, Massachusetts who do the day to day work. Their extraordinary four hands have built, nailed, or sawed every piece of this restoration. (Some other specialty contractors did the electric, plumbing, steel, etc).

This view is from audience center toward the stage.

This view is from audience right toward the stage area. It is fascinating for me to observe this restoration effort - to keep as much of the old as possible and integrate the new where necessary. Laminated beams and steel girders share company with wide rough-hewn lumber. 

Directly below the stage are these performer makeup areas.

In this panorama view, the stairs at left lead conveniently and directly to upstage right.

Around the corner from the makeup area, the dressing cubicles are under construction. We take a floor for granted but, before this restoration project, this floor area was dirt and mud and debris, now it will be production/preparation space for the performers.

In this view from stage left, the midday sunlight magically streams into the stage area. This natural "way-too-bright" light is always welcome. It is streaming in the small window shown up high above the oak tree shadow in the second image above.

The days are numbered for the "way-too-bright" construction light - in a matter of weeks, the original 16-bulb wagon wheel chandelier will be re-hung.  It waits patiently in the upstage left prop/set storage area.

Each time I visit now to make some pictures I am struck by how alive this venue is starting to feel. Maybe I'm getting senile and just hallucinating but, I can hear the generations of footfalls and voices and instruments that have graced this theatre and I can imagine the future generations of footfalls and voices and instruments that this restoration will offer for many years to come. 

Theatre is an elemental human experience - storytelling and song - among the oldest of shared creative human experiences. This theatre in southeastern Massachusetts is ideally and centrally located for patrons (and performers) from Boston, Cape Cod, Providence, and everywhere in between. 

Support local live theatre - wherever you live in the world - and if you live around here, plan to visit Priscilla Beach Theatre this coming summer!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this pictorial tour of the restoration of PBT. We at Priscilla and White Horse Beach are so blessed to have Bob and Sandy making this possible.