A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches
it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.
Dear Peterborough Players Family,
It’s an honor to be writing to you as we celebrate the Peterborough Players’ 90th year. How extraordinary is what Edith Bond Stearns started in the Hadley Barn in 1933?!
Though she hardly ever allowed a photo, I can vividly remember my “Aunt Edith’s” smile that could light up a room and she’s sure smiling down on us now!
I have no memory of not being a Peterborough Player since my first summer here was when I’d just turned one. My mom, Rosanna Cox entered that magical barn as an apprentice in 1939 only 6 years after Johnny Stearns mucked out the place and built a stage. My first memories were the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd in the barn. Mom was then the leading lady here during her more than 50 years of doing wonderful roles on this stage.
As I grew up, I learned so much by watching her and her fellow thespians and feeling that extraordinary love affair, that energy exchange with the audience, that magic. It was so exciting and, chomping at the bit when director Jimmy Welch offered me a juicy child lead at age 8, I was off and running.
Like it did for my mom and me, the Peterborough Players experience sparked the imagination and careers of so, so many and that special compact between audience and Players strengthened with the talent it attracted and collective good will year after year. And it still does.
Mom loved to describe her early days of discovery and opportunity at the Players.
I came of age at The Players and I felt that same magic. When I lunched with James Whitmore in Malibu, he described the same thing, as did William Hurt when I worked with him on Broadway…the same from Robert Morse when Mom and I talked with him backstage after his Tony winning performance in Tru...same from Tom Moore and Chuck Morey and so many others, even those whose entire experience in theater may have been only one summer as an apprentice in the barn.
The extended Players family always remark about that magical feeling and their gratitude for it. That’s why so many of us return. We just have to get back to where we once belonged. I married my wife Sarah here and buried my dear mom here last summer.
There’s something about this place, something one can’t really define, something uniquely nourishing to the soul, transformational, indelible. Players and audience members have felt that since the 30’s. When James Whitmore mentored me as a young actor, we talked about the rush of creative energy, fellowship, and pure fun we had both felt in different decades at the Players. He smiled and whispered with emotion, “The sap was running.” And the sap is still running.
Actors can be guides, shamans. They take you to new places, remind us of truths. Fine theater can open our souls, enhance our beings. An experience in the theater can be life changing. The ritual of coming to a theater, sitting down and being transported by a storyteller is as old as mankind.
The Players in Our very special Town is an especially good place for that. It has stood the test of time and evolved into possibly the finest summer theater in the nation and an invaluable cultural resource in winter as well.
The consequences of the pandemic have been profound on our theater. Now more than ever as the Players works to rebuild audiences, the theater needs our help to meet the challenges of continuing to produce exceptional, professional theater.
Please join me in making a gift today to ensure that this special place survives and thrives for many decades to come.
On this special occasion of our 90th year, let's celebrate this amazing theater together with great pride. Here’s to our inimitable, visionary founder EBS and all the Peterborough Players over the past nine decades as we move forward in a new auspicious era with Tom Frey.
How lucky we are! Peterborough Players is an extraordinary gift to us all.
Peterborough Player since 1956
We are “As rich in having such a jewel
As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,
The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold."