About the Weathervane


Whitefield, NH has been home to the Weathervane since its founding in 1966.  The Theatre sits proudly on Route 3 (Lancaster Road) a few miles north of the quaint village.  A 250-seat capacity auditorium has no obstructed views and is arranged in tiered seating with no seat further than 40 feet from the stage.  Center and side aisles make access easy from three entryways.  The Box Office operates daily during the season.

The performance signature of the Weathervane is the practice of performing seven Mainstage productions in 8 weeks, scheduled in alternating repertory with a core Company of resident professional actors.  Lively musicals, droll comedies and moving dramas alternate Monday through Saturday in July and August.  Since 1966 the theatre has produced a wide variety of titles as listed here: 52 Seasons of Shows.

Follow links to current Board Members & founder Gibbs MurrayStaff, and a brief History of the Weathervane.

Weathervane Theatre Players, Inc. is a federally-registered not-for-profit corporation led by a volunteer Board of Directors and managed by contracted staff.  The fiscal year runs October 1 through September 30.

Winner of multiple NH Theatre Awards and nominations, Weathervane Company, Board, Staff and audiences always have plenty to celebrate!

In addition to the Theatre’s public performance property, the Weathervane owns the former Spalding Inn that is used to house the theatre staff.  And thanks to the Weathervane Theatre Alumni Association the theatre utilizes the Mount Washington Grange Hall for rehearsal, costume shop and storage and office space.

Board of Directors & Founder


Directors
Neil Brody
Anthony Colacino
Lore Moran Dodge
Dan Salomon
Gibbs Murray, Cofounder

Officers
George C. “Kit” Carter, President
David A. Kenney, Past President
Jeanne Landry, Vice President
Meyer G. Koplow, Vice President
Paul Damiano, Vice President
Jennifer Gaudette, Treasurer
Sara Martineau, Secretary

Scott Hunt, Liaison to WVAA

If you would like information about the Board of Directors, please send an email to the Producing Artistic Director.

 

Gibbs Murray


GibbsSiteB.jpg

Of course, the Weathervane’s very existence is due to GIBBS MURRAY, who cofounded the Theatre in 1966 with the late Tom Haas (see History).  For every summer since 1966, Gibbs has been an integral part of all things Weathervane.

As a young man, Murray brought artistry and considerable theatre experience onstage and off.  A faculty member at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, he would eventually retire as Chair of the Display and Design Department having made an indelible mark on more students than can be counted.  And for every summer since 1966, it has been his artistry and singular design that have defined the look and style of the Weathervane.  Thousands of alumni staff and audience members instantly recognize the ‘look’ of our productions, all guided by his inestimable talent and vision and his presence onstage and off is felt by every successive Company and each summer’s audience.  You can see Gibbs in every drawing, his influence in each intricate stage design and of course you can see him yourself each and every summer at the Theatre.

 2019 Staff


picture-72.jpg

Producing Artistic Director Ethan Paulini returns for Season 54.  He brings a wealth of experience as director, performer and associate artist to the Weathervane where he has served as Intern Director, Co-Artistic Director, Director, Choreographer and AEA Company Member.  The Associate Artistic Director of Out of the Box Theatrics (NYC), Ethan’s experience includes: Director for Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Education Department, where he designed their SummerTraining Program. Faculty at Harwich Junior Theatre and taught master classes at Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Ouachita Baptist University and Singers’ Forum. He is the Resident Director for Reel Artistry. Founder of Ethan Paulini Career and Acting Coaching – YOU Inc #ethancoaches, a Manhattan based studio with over 200 clients represented on Broadway, TV/Film and more!  Proud Member – AEA, SDC, SAG/AFTRA. www.ethanpaulini.com to find out more about other performing and directing credits!

During the summer Season the Weathervane employs over 50 actors, technicians, musicians, scenic artists and additional staffers.  Some return year after year while others take their Weathervane experience on the road with regional and national theatre careers.  Additionally, the theatre employs local residents and NH artists in a variety of positions.

History


Founded in 1966 by Gibbs Murray and the late Tom Haas, the Weathervane continued the tradition of live, professional summer entertainment in Whitefield that began at the Chase Barn Theatre (shown in photos now and then).

The Chase opened in 1934 in a barn on the Chase Farm property.  William Chase, arts critic at the New York Times, began importing New York actors, singers, and dancers during the summer to the delight of North Country residents and vacationers.  For decades, the rafters rang at the Chase Barn with noted performers from Broadway, the Met, and beyond.  Chase family members and local folks served as staff and audiences flocked there from grand hotels and country roads until 1962 when the Chase went dark.

gibbsTomSiteB.jpg

Enter two young men with vision, energy, talent, and enthusiasm for northern New Hampshire . . . and the Weathervane Theatre was born.  Lucy Chase Sparks introduced them to a property on Route 3 that offered two conjoined antique barns just begging to be transformed into a new stage space.  For 36 Summers, the old (circa 1860s) 225-seat barn served generations of theatre-goers.  Open staging (no proscenium) and a raked, moveable pie section combined with the intimacy of the space made for creative staging and an immediacy the eager audiences were drawn to.

In the winter of 2001, an assessment of structural issues made it impossible to continue to use the original Weathervane for performances.  Quickly, the Board and staff began plans to erect a new Theatre, adjacent to the first.

oldWVripSiteRevB.jpg

A flurry of activity, a massive amount of fundraising, and a 37th  Season that began on the borrowed stage space at the White Mountains Regional all culminated in the opening of the “new” Weathervane in August 2002.  With seating expanded to 250, sightlines cleared of crossbeams, more aisle space and then state-of-the-art equipment, the new home managed to recreate the signature staging and creative possibilities for which the Weathervane was known.

The old space, shored up for workshop use, still housed dressing rooms, major storage and work space, and the necessary accumulated inventory of the past decades.  The ‘old barn’ was a major asset and continual reminder of the history of the Weathervane.

fireDebrisSmoke-site.jpg

But in October 2011, a devastating fire took down the original Weathervane with its valuable contents and space. Quick, professional work by the Whitefield Fire Department and departments from nine other towns limited the destruction to the public wing and stage right area of the directly adjacent ‘new’ Theatre. All told, when the smoke cleared, the loss and damages would amount to over $1 million . . . only about a third covered by insurance.

Once again, the Board and staff began to make replacement, repair, and rebuilding plans. While the insurance claims would begin to replace the “stuff” and fix the public/restroom wing, it was the value of that space that provided the greatest challenge.  In all the fire took literally thousands of square feet of work space, dressing room space, and production storage both for inventory and working our alternating schedule.  All that, as well as repairs to the extant Theatre, had to be addressed if the Mainstage was to open for Season 47.  And it did, with much fanfare, and with some additional work (the removal of scenic/costume outbuilding Birch Hill, for one thing; and the building of an entirely new workshop space) all completed by 2013.

2002BarnB.jpg

The result, we hope, will welcome audiences and staff for decades to come.  The financial obligations continue, and were added to with the purchase of the historic former Spalding Inn to serve as resident housing for the 55+ summer staff.  We offer multiple opportunities to show your support and help us financially complete the work that you see:  please visit our Support section to learn how you can help complete the rebuilding and restoration of the Weathervane, as well as set the stage for the future.