Guide to 2021 Summer Theater in New Hampshire

Andy’s Summer Playhouse features outstanding plays performed by talented children. Photo by P.T. Sullivan

NH is home to some truly excellent talent and venues. Whether you appreciate Shakespeare or Broadway, there’s sure to be something happening that you’ll love. Here you’ll find, in alphabetical order, seasonal summer theater venues from across the state.

This summer you could spend a sunny afternoon with the family watching a production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” at the Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth, experience Shakespeare’s eternal brilliance in Sandwich, see an original work at The Players’ Ring, enjoy a night at the opera with Opera North and much, much more.

Make sure you check back to for show updates as they get added throughout the summer.

Venues:

Advice to the Players | Andy’s Summer Playhouse | Barnstormers Theatre | Hatbox Theatre | Interlakes Summer Theatre | Jean’s Playhouse | M&D Playhouse | New London Barn Playhouse | Opera North | The Palace Theatre | Peterborough Players | Prescott Park Arts Festival | Seacoast Repertory Theatre | Weathervane Theatre | The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Advice to the Players

July-August
As Hamlet said in his advice to the players, “Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor” and head over to the Advice to the Players to hear the challenging but inspiring words of Shakespeare. Advice to the Players is an award-winning company that brings Shakespeare’s words to life every spring and summer in Sandwich and North Conway. This talented group of Shakespeare enthusiasts has been presenting Shakespeare performances and workshops in New Hampshire’s Lakes and Mountain Region since 1999. The company is a mix of professionals, community members and teenagers.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “The Ballad of Daphnis and Chloe,” July 10, 11, 16-18
  • “Comedy of Errors,” August 6-15

Click here or call (603) 986-6253 for information and tickets.


Andy’s Summer Playhouse

July-August
Andy’s Summer Playhouse features innovative plays by children but they’re intended to be enjoyed by those of all ages. From the website: “Andy’s Summer Playhouse exists to provide a safe environment for children to experience and learn about all aspects of the performing arts, with the goal of creating innovative theater for the surrounding community. Andy’s emphasizes education and community building, encouraging all participants to explore their own creativity.”

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • (Coming soon!)

Click here or call (603) 654-2613 for information, tickets and details on other programs such as the Andy’s Academy workshops, the apprenticeship program and more.

582 Isaac Frye Hwy., Wilton


The Barnstormers Theatre

July 27-September 4
Located in the charming small village of Tamworth, the Barnstormers is one of the longest-running professional summer theaters in the country. The company was founded in 1931 by Francis Cleveland, the youngest son of President Grover Cleveland, Francis’s wife Alice and their friend Ed Goodnow – all of whom were involved with theater on Broadway. Today, The Barnstormers is one of three Equity theaters in New Hampshire, and consists of over 40 professional actors, some of which have been performing at Barnstormers for 50 years.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “Our Town,” July 27-31. Described by Edward Albee as “the greatest American play ever written,” “Our Town” presents the small town of Grover’s Corners in three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage” and “Death and Eternity.” Narrated by a stage manager and performed with minimal props and sets, the play depicts the simple daily lives of the Webb and Gibbs families as their children fall in love, marry, and eventually–in one of the most famous scenes in American theatre–die.
  • “Far From Canterbury,” August 11-21. A reimagined telling of “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales, Far From Canterbury” takes us to a world where fairy tales are considered current events, and tells the story of a shy young knight who will be sentenced to death, unless in one year, he can answer one simple riddle: “What is it that women desire most?”
  • “Popcorn Falls,” August 31-September 4. 

104 Main St., Tamworth
(603) 323-8500
Click here for tickets and information


Hatbox Theater

Boundary-pushing black box theaters may seem like a luxury reserved for college campuses and big cities but, with the opening of Hatbox Theatre, Concord has recently gained one of its own. The 99-seat space (located in a former Coldwater Creek in the Steeplegate Mall) hosts a wide variety of theatrical and performing arts productions throughout the year, from one-act plays to magic shows by the theater’s owner, Absolutely Magic’s Andrew Pinard. Here’s a sample of what’s coming up summer 2021:

  • “Holmes and Watson,” June 11-27. This fast-paced mystery, filled with surprises, is remarkably faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters and storytelling. Too often these much revered title characters are treated as the punchline to a joke. Not here. Hatcher wrote the screenplay to the recent film, “Mr. Holmes” featuring Ian McKellen, one of the most highly regarded Holmes films in many years by Holmes scholars. Hatcher knows his stuff. It is that respect for the original material that is so refreshing. Add to that a creepy setting, a genuine mystery at the heart of the story, and a script which offers some challenging acting roles and you have a winning play.

270 Loudon Rd., Concord, hatboxnh.com


Interlakes Summer Theatre

June 30-August
This company seeks to bring the Lakes Region a wide variety of productions, from children’s theater to classic favorites.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “A Chorus Line,” June 30-July 21
  • “I Do, I Do!” July 21-August 1
  • “Little Shop of Horrors,” August 4-15

1 Laker Ln., Meredith.
Click here or call (603) 707-6035 for information and tickets.


Jean’s Playhouse

June-September
This North Country theater has been open for more than three decades and prides itself on bringing the community together. Over 150,000 locals have come out to support the theater and each summer the children’s theater entertains over 12,000 members of nearby communities. The new Jean’s Playhouse (opened in the summer of 2012) features comfortable seating, a bigger lobby and better heating and air conditioning. Jean’s Playhouse is home to many concerts and events throughout the year, but stop by in the summer and fall for great theater.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “The Sound of Music in Concert,” July 8-10
  • “Clue the Musical,” July 15-31
  • “Evita,” August 5-14
  • “Forever Plaid,” August 19-28

34 Papermill Drive, Lincoln
Click here or call (603) 745-2141 for information on summer show and tickets


M&D Playhouse

Tucked away in a strip mall on the edge of the White Mountains, North Conway’s M&D Playhouse has quietly amassed a reputation in its 18-year history for staging some of the most challenging theater in the state. Daring past productions include “Equus” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “Xanadu the Musical,” July 1-18
  • “Steel Magnolias,” August 5-22
  • “Clue Onstage,” September 9-26
  • “Veronica’s Room,” October 14-24

M&D Playhouse
2760 White Mountain Hwy., North Conway
Click here or call (603) 733-5275 for more information.


New London Barn Playhouse

June 29-September 5
One of the oldest summer stock theaters in the country, the New London Barn Players combine emerging talent with seasoned professionals to produce high quality theater. Although some things have changed since its 1933 opening (such as the 50-cent tickets), Mr. Holmes’ core mission still stands true – “To establish … a theater group presenting dramas of stimulating artistic and literary merit.”

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “Shining On,” June 29-August 13
  • “A Grand Night for Singing,” July 1-August 21
  • “Anything Goes,” July 6-August 20
  • “And The World Goes ‘Round,” July 10-August 22
  • “Always…Patsy Cline,” August 25-September 5
  • Children’s Theater Series at the Barn: The 2021 Children’s Theater Series consists of four shows performed by the Barn’s own Junior Intern Company.

84 Main St., New London
Click here or call (603) 526-6710 for information and tickets.


Opera North

July 16-29
Opera North (ON) is in its 39th season in the Upper Valley. Opera North is a nonprofit, professional opera company serving residents of this region and beyond. Throughout its 39-year existence, ON has focused on bringing classical music theater to this region in its myriad of styles and through the nurturing of talent. Opera North is the only full-time opera company in the tri-state region of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine that stages original productions.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “Havana Nights,” July 16-18 This show brings high-flying circus artistry and vocal virtuosity together again under the Big Top (with open sides). Pulsating Latin rhythms blend with circus acrobatics, juggling, and aerial work as Opera North’s Resident Artists bring sultry, sizzling, sensational favorites from Bizet, Lecuona, and Puccini to a joyous crescendo. Once again, the mash-up of song and circus promises to be a fun-filled family outing.
  • “La Boheme,” July 28, 30 and August 1 This exquisite story of love and loss sung through Giacomo Puccini’s exquisite, romantic opera lives on in an intimate new production. Under Opera North’s heaven of stars, accompanied by the lush sound of a full orchestra, Mimi finds her true love Rodolfo while the coquettish Mimi waltzes her way through the beguiling joys of young love. Savor “la vie en rose” with the rakish Bohemians of Paris and some of the most beautiful music ever written for the stage. Sung in English, this familiar story endures as a beloved classic.
  • “Extraordinary Women,” July 24 This fusion of Baroque opera heroines showcases our Resident Artists in selections from operas by Purcell, Handel, Monteverdi, and Gluck. Presented in concert with semi-staging and small orchestra. Consider this original production, created by Artistic Director Louis Burkot, a highlight reel of great performances by strong, resilient, unforgettable women who persisted.
  • Special events include the Angel Blue Masterclass at the Lebanon Opera House (July 29), Music of the Knights at Blow-Me-Down Farm (July 31), the Lake Sunapee Musical Dinner Cruise (July 21).

20 West Park St., Lebanon
Click here or call (603) 448-4141 for information.


The Palace Theatre

July 6-August 26
The Palace Professional Theatre for Children Series takes the stage this summer at one of New Hampshire’s most well known and historic theaters. The beautiful 840-seated theatre is the only one of it’s kind in the area. The children’s series will have you and your children leave the theatre singing.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” July 6-8
  • “Peter Pan,” June 13-15 
  • “Wizard of Oz,” July 20-22
  • “The Little Mermaid,” July 27-29
  • “Beauty and the Beast,” August 3-5
  • “Rapunzel,” August 10-12
  • “Cinderella,” August 17-19
  • “Sleeping Beauty,” August 24-26

80 Hanover St., Manchester
Click here or call (603) 668-5588 for an updated list of plays and ticket information.


Peterborough Players

August 4-September 12
A true rustic theatre company, the Peterborough Players was founded in 1933 and perform in an 18th-century barn to this day, but don’t worry — there’s air conditioning.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “Our Town,” August 4-15
  • “Beehive: The 60s Musical,” August 18-29
  • “Where You Are,” September 1-12

55 Hadley Rd., Peterborough
Click here or call (603) 924-7585 for information and tickets.


Prescott Park Arts Festival

June-August
A delightful summer tradition since 1974. Held in the waterfront Prescott Park, the festival offers a full summer of events that are family appropriate. Live theater is highlighted here, but the festival includes much more, including outdoor movies, music, a fairy house tour, chowder fest, road race, chili cook-off, brewfest and other entertainment and special events.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” July 9-August 15 Happiness is great musical theater. With charm, wit, and heart, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” explores life through the eyes of Charlie Brown and his friends in the “Peanuts” gang. This revue of songs and vignettes, based on the beloved Charles Schulz comic strip, is the ideal musical for audiences both young and old!
  • Check out Camp ENCORE, where performers, artists and aspiring technicians, ages 8-17, all work together towards a common goal — a fully produced musical presented at the end of each session.

Click here for tickets and more information.


Seacoast Repertory Theatre

All year
This award-winning professional performance space once acted as the warehouse for the Portsmouth Brewing Company in the ’70s but has since made a great addition to the seacoast community’s theater life. Though there are performances all year long, Portsmouth is a popular summer destination, and it would be a shame to leave out this excellent theater. While you’re in town to soak up some summer seaside life, stop in at the Rep for an excellent show.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “Pippin,” June 10-July 18
  • “Cabaret,” July 22-September 5

125 Bow St., Portsmouth
Click here or call (603) 433-4472 for information and tickets.


Weathervane Theatre

June 29-September 30
The Weathervane Theatre brings Broadway all the way to North Country New Hampshire for its 56th season this summer. Weathervane is the only professional alternating repertory theatre in the country, producing seven shows in eight weeks – a different show every night. See the full calendar here.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “Buyer & Cellar,” opens June 29
  • “American Idiot,” opens July 1
  • “Hello, Dolly!,” opens July 5
  • “Disaster!,” opens July 19
  • “Kinky Boots,” opens August 2
  • “Amadeus,” opens August 13
  • “The Addams Family,” opens August 24
  • “Pippin,” opens September 7
  • “The Mountaintop,” September 9
  • “Always…Patsy Cline,” September 15

389 Lancaster Rd., Whitefield
Click here or call (603) 837-9322 for information and tickets.


The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

June 16-September 18 (and all year long)
The Playhouse is a nonprofit, award-winning theater churning out high-energy shows. Newer to the theater scene, The Playhouse was founded in 2004, but is still considered a gem to central New Hampshire. You can catch performances all year long, but there’s something extra special about catching a show on a warm summer evening after a day spent on the lake. The Playhouse also offers some excellent summer youth educational camps and other programming.

Summer 2021 Performances:

  • “Betrayal,” June 16-July 3 From one of Britain’s most acclaimed and influential playwrights comes “Betrayal.” This sophisticated drama starts at the end of a marriage and moves backwards in time to show a love triangle from its last breaths to its first, furtive, spark. Along the way, honesty, fidelity, and friendship are tested in ways both mundanely relatable and emotionally devastating.
  • “Sleuth,” June 30-July 17 This immensely popular cat-and-mouse thriller pits master crime writer Andrew Wyke against a young rival for his wife’s affections. Revenge is devised and murders plotted as the two plan the ultimate whodunnit. With twists, turns, and a surprise or two, “Sleuth” has proven itself to be a favorite of this most popular genre. Winner of the 1971 Tony Award for Best Play!
  • “Dani Girl,” July 14-31 When Dani, a precocious nine-year-old, loses her hair to leukemia, she embarks on a magical journey to get it back. Simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, “Dani Girl” is a tale of life in the face of death, hope in the face of despair, and the indomitable power of the human imagination. A powerful musical that will stay with you long after the final bows.
  • “Tell Me On A Sunday,” July 28-August 14 An early show from the team that brought you hits like “Starlight Express” and “Sunset Boulevard,” “Tell Me on a Sunday” follows a young English woman who has recently landed in New York. Brimming with optimism, she sets out to seek success, companionship, and love. But as she weaves her way through the maze of the city and her own anxieties, frustrations and heartaches, she begins to wonder whether—in fact—she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places.
  • “Hooligans and Convicts!,” August 18-September 4 Initially written to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 2020, this play with music introduces us to the original nasty women who fought on both sides of the Atlantic for the right to vote. From Seneca Falls to the Houses of Parliament, these women were branded “hooligans” and “convicts” as they marched, petitioned, fought, and starved themselves in the name of suffrage. It took these activists nearly 100 years to earn the right to vote, we have only had to wait one additional year to put on this groundbreaking original show which features both original and historical music.
  • “It Had To Be You,” September 1-18 Set to the music of two of America’s iconic songwriters of the early twentieth century, the story tells the tale of the loves and losses of three women from high school graduation in 1916 through the Great War, the roaring twenties, and the depression era. Relive hits from the Great American Songbook set to an exciting new story.

33 Footlight Circle, Meredith
Click here or call (603) 279-0333 for information and tickets.

Categories: Arts & Shopping, Guide to Summer