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Our Story

It all started in the men’s dressing room at Merrimack College, which may seem like an odd place, but it seems that great things often begin in odd places.

Three actors were playing the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion in a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz.

On a nightly basis, while getting dressed in their character costumes and applying makeup, discussions inevitably were held about theater and all it can offer a community. Concern was expressed about how much potential the city of Haverhill held, yet no community theater called it home.

Over the course of these talks, the three actors decided to invite a group of people together to share the fun of group play readings. This camaraderie developed into the Haverhill Dramatic Reading Association. Once a month a group of people get together to socialize and read a play. At the end of each reading, the next play, a director, and a host are selected.

The readings were attended by quite a few people who were all there just to enjoy one another’s company and experience a little bit of theater. They were open to anyone who wished to join, regardless of their skill or ability. The original reading had seven people in attendance. By 2008, more than fifty different readers participated in the reading series.

At the end of the readings, the group would linger to discuss the play that was read and theater in general. Talk often returned to the fact that Haverhill lacked a community theater of its own. Eventually, it was put out as a challenge: “Why couldn’t we start a community theater?” And so, on the warm evening of June 3, 2008, Spotlight Playhouse was born.

Throughout this evolutionary process, Spotlight Playhouse has welcomed a number of very talented people who are committed to making this theatrical troupe a successful venture. These people have immense skill and desire to serve the community by developing the arts. Some are sharing their skills behind the scenes forming the structure of the new company, while others are involved in the production crew or performing on stage.

It has become our goal to create a theater that involves the entire community. We want to become an organization that harnesses the talent and resources of the community and gives back the performing arts with a high level of quality.

Mission Statement

To provide professional quality theater, educational endeavors, creative outlets, and an artistic voice for the community within an inclusive environment.

Board of Directors

  • President: Beth Yuskaitis
  • Vice President: Jeremy Bryant
  • Artistic Director: Rachel Fennell
  • Secretary: Harvey Deming
  • Treasurer: Art Certosimo
  • Membership: Vacant
  • Marketing: Meghan Cary
  • Special Programs: Jeff Collard
  • Property Director: Vacant
  • Member-at-Large: Scott Helmers
  • Member-at-Large: Deb Cary

Our Vision

To make Spotlight Playhouse the premiere theater organization in the Merrimack Valley.

We endeavor to do this by:

  • Possessing a high level of professionalism that permeates the entire Spotlight Playhouse organization. This expert approach will be apparent in our productions, staff and relationship with the community.
  • Educating the community in many aspects of the performing arts through classes, seminars and a full season of performances. We will offer the opportunity to learn through participation.
  • Involving the community by encouraging people to lend their diverse talents in all aspects of our productions. Spotlight Playhouse’s innovative and entertaining performances will be of a professional caliber.
  • Providing our members a positive environment and a fun outlet for their creativity.
  • Supporting and appreciating our members, while treating them and the community at large with respect.