Professional Nonprofit Theater on Martha's Vineyard
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24 Church Street, Box 2452, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 | 508-696-6300

Shakespeare for the Masses

Quick, Painless, and Free! Very informal interpretations condense a full length play into one hour that includes lots of comedic antics. Both the cast and audience share a great time!

Shakespeare for the Masses was created in 2008 because, at the end of a joyous summer working in the Playhouse production of AS YOU LIKE IT at the Tisbury Amphitheater, we realized we had a long, cold winter ahead of us. We needed to stay out of trouble, and we really wanted to have some more fun with Shakespeare.

What better way to accomplish both these things than to chop up Shakespeare’s beautiful text into easily-digestible one-hour shows, and invite all of our friends and favorite actors to donate their time and talent to perform with us – after only a single day of rehearsal?

MJ Bruder Munafo, Artistic Director of Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, and all of our theatrical friends fully embraced this ambitious idea right from the beginning, and we are grateful. Now in our 8th season, MV Playhouse has produced more than 30 performances in various venues including the Playhouse, MV Museum, the Harborview, the Edgartown Lighthouse, the Katharine Cornell Theater and the Tisbury Amphitheater. Our lively staged readings have featured more than 30 actors, most of them Vineyard-based.

In all this time we are extremely proud to have offered our shows to the community free of charge. With your support, we can continue this tradition. Thank you!

Nicole Galland and Chelsea McCarthy

Shakespeare for the Masses typically runs from November through April.

Quick & Painless & Free


If you are interested in sponsoring a production (2 performances) or a single performance of Shakespeare for the Masses so that we are able to continue offering these to our audiences for free, please contact us. We are grateful for the following generous donors who made this possible in 2015 and in 2016:
Geraldine Brooks & Tony Horwitz
Polly Brown
Chris & Barbara Murphy
The Senchaks


Shakespeare for the Masses – The Triple Crown

Patricia Neal Stage
Written by William Shakespeare
Quick, Painless & Free!

THE TRIPLE CROWN Richard II, Henry IV, Part One and Henry IV, Part Two. A lively staged reading edited and organized by Nicole Galland and Chelsea McCarthy. Featuring a rollicking troupe of Playhouse Players!

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S4M Website Square LG

Shakespeare for the Masses – The Merchant of Venice

Patricia Neal Stage
Quick & Painless & Free

Come to Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse this weekend to see the Bard as you've never seen him before: a full play condensed into a one-hour format and presented by Chelsea McCarthy, Nicole Galland and a rollicking troupe of local actors. It's a great way to introduce children - anybody, for that matter - to the works and world of William Shakespeare.

If you have been to previous performances of Shakespeare for the Masses over the past eight years, you already know what a free-spirited romp it will be. This time, Chelsea and Nikki take on THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, with a guest appearance from MV poet laureate Arnie Reisman in the role of Shylock. Expect a dose of poetic license from Arnie and the rest of the cast, along with the usual irreverence the directors bring to all of Shakespeare's work.

This weekend's performances are made possible by the generosity of Geraldine Brooks and Tony Horwitz. MERCHANT will be performed on Saturday, January 9, at 7:30 pm and on Sunday, January 10, at 12 noon at the Playhouse, 24 Church Street in downtown Vineyard Haven. Admission is free; seating is general.

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