About Us

Dorset Theatre Festival is a major player in the arena of world-class summer theatre.

Dorset Theatre Festival's mission is to create bold, innovative, and authentic theatre that engages a diverse, multi-generational community, and economically diverse region: enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring our audience through the celebration of great plays. We aim to redefine the landscape of theatre by presenting thought-provoking productions drawn from the new and classic canon, as well as through the development of new plays, new audiences, and new artists for the future of American theater. We produce theatre that matters.

From June to September, the Festival mounts 4 main stage productions, drawing from some of this country’s most talented playwrights, actors and directors.

Under the recent leadership of Artistic Director Dina Janis, the Festival is changing the landscape of regional theatre. Bold and innovative, Dorset Theatre Festival is garnering accolades for its commitment to new play development and is proud to encourage a new generation of playwrights to test their voices here. We discover new talent. We launch new plays that go on to national acclaim and the lights of Broadway. We mount regional premiers of Tony Award-winning plays to bring the best of Off-Broadway to Vermont.

Our History

The Festival’s summer home is an intimate theatre built from 2 pre-revolutionary barns. Opening its doors to local thespians in 1929, the Dorset Playhouse became host to the professional Equity Summer Festival in 1977. Today, Dorset Theatre Festival is a rich cultural resource and integral part of the community. Whether we’re staging dramatic classics, producing great plays from the contemporary canon, or providing a platform for fresh new theatrical voices, the Festival is always pursuing its single mission: to create an environment in which our audiences can experience thought‐provoking, inspiring, and entertaining live theatre.

Through our Giving Back program and educational outreach, we also even the playing field for under-served populations and families and bring them into the theatre experience. We partner with other nonprofit organizations to support creativity, build community engagement, and enrich the cultural landscape. Our goal is to make excellent theatre a shared community experience and inspire our audiences to think, laugh, and feel long after the curtain falls.

Dorset Theatre Festival is a nonprofit organization supported by individuals like you who believe that live theatre enriches our experiences as a community and connects us to what makes us human.

Dorset Theatre Festival is proud to be a member of the following organizations, as well as to work with many arts partners across the country to build a vibrant and sustainable future for the arts in all communities, serving all members of our society.

Learn more about the history of Dorset Theatre Festival in this article from ManchesterVermont.com