Gifts bring Walker Farm theater plan closer to goal;
Norman Conquests: three plays, three theaters, one cast

The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company has announced that it has received major support for its capital campaign from the Hunter Charitable Trust of Boston and the Loewe Foundation of New York.

Walker Farm logoThe Campaign for the Weston Theatre, which currently stands at $8.5 million of a $10 million goal, will build a flexible second stage on the 5-acre Walker Farm in Weston to complement the award-winning company’s programming at the historic Weston Playhouse.

The James H. and Irene M. Hunter Charitable Trust has awarded a $500,000 challenge grant to the theater company, agreeing to match new capital gifts of $25,000 or more. One of Southern Vermont’s major charitable givers, the Hunter Trust has supported such area projects as the Manchester Community Library, Hunter Park at Riley Rink, Long Trail School, Northshire Day School and Burr and Burton Academy.

The Frederick Loewe Foundation has committed $150,000 to Weston’s $1.5 million Fund for the American Theatre, created to help cover the increased operating costs of an expanded campus and to provide seed money for new and ongoing programs. The gift will establish the Frederick Loewe Fund for Musical Theatre to support reduced orchestrations of new and classic musicals produced on the company’s stages.  The New York-based foundation, founded by composer Frederick Loewe (My Fair Lady, Camelot, Brigadoon), supports  American musical theater while preserving the legacy of Loewe and his music.

Further information about The Campaign for the Weston Theatre and the company’s 80th anniversary season can be found at

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Three plays, three stages, three directors – one cast

Vermont’s Dorset Theatre Festival, Northern Stage, and Weston Playhouse Theatre Company are embarking on a partnership to bring British playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s comic trilogy, The Norman Conquests, to their stages in the spring and summer of 2016. More than a year in the planning, the collaboration has three nationally known directors working with the same cast and creative team on successive productions of the three plays in White River Junction, Dorset, and Weston.

Artistic Directors Dina Janis of Dorset, Carol Dunne of Northern Stage and Steve Stettler of Weston have been sharing artists and ideas for several years and agreed that the chance to produce three interrelated plays was an opportunity for a deeper partnership. The trilogy follows the amorous exploits of assistant librarian Norman in and around an English country house on a summer weekend. The cast of six become enmeshed in “an ingenious Chinese puzzle” of relationships that can be enjoyed individually, but even more so, collectively.

Northern Stage will produce the first of the three comedies, Living Together, under the direction of Peter Hackett at the company’s new Barrette Center for the Arts, April 20 to May 8. Dorset will follow with Table Manners, directed by Evan Yionoulis, running June 16 to July 2. Weston will conclude the series with Round and Round the Garden, directed by Michael Berresse, playing July 21 to 30. The creative team includes set designer David Arsenault, lighting by Stuart Duke, costumes by  Charles Schoonmaker, and sound design by Jane Shaw. The cast features Richard Gallagher as Norman, Caitlin Clouthier as Sarah, Ashton Heyl as Ruth, Mark Light-Orr as Reg, Jenni Putney as Annie, and Dave Mason as Tom. Danielle Zandri is production stage manager.

For more information about The Norman Conquests and the work of the three companies, visit their websites at,, and

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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