Theater in the Open is pleased to announce that they have been selected Curators of the Gatekeeper’s House by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). This move confirms that for the next 20 years, Theater in the Open will remain in the same headquarters they have occupied since 1987. It also means that they will continue to offer their youth arts education programs and free outdoor performances at Maudslay State Park.

Executive Director Kelly Shea Knowles commented, “We are thrilled that DCR selected us as Curator for the Maudslay Gatekeeper’s House and happy to see our partnership with DCR continue for the next 20 years. The outpouring of community support for our effort during the competitive bidding process was overwhelming, and we are grateful to all who contributed. Knowing that our headquarters will now remain at the Gatekeeper’s House allows us to make strides in strategic growth that will better position us to serve our community over the long term.”

DCR’s selection is important news for Theater in the Open (TITO). Apart from the long history and tradition of TITO operating from the Gatekeeper’s House, its use as headquarters, artists’ residence and point of entry to Maudslay is central to TITO’s work.

With a mission that offers a free theater nearly every weekend during their performance season, TITO is an active and vibrant part of the cultural community of Greater Newburyport. Additionally, TITO enables hundreds of area youth to experience the arts in a personal and connected way during their Summer Arts Workshop. This educational program fosters the types of social and emotional growth that builds self-confidence, a collaborative spirit and overall academic achievement. Because these programs take place outdoors at the Gatekeeper’s House and neighboring Arrowhead Farm, they also help to instill an appreciation of and a sense of stewardship for our environment. Program registration for 2017 is now open and as news spreads of TITO staying at the Gatekeeper’s House, remaining space is expected to fill quickly.

Artistic Director Edward Speck added, “I couldn’t be happier. For thirty years young people have been coming to this little house on the edge of the woods to learn about theater, dance and visual arts. Some have become artists, others are now doctors or computer programmers. All of them found a home here at the Gatekeeper’s House where they were supported, listened to and encouraged to grow. I was one of those young people two decades ago, and to know that this house will be welcoming area youth for the next two decades is quite literally a dream come true. I am eternally grateful to DCR, and to all of our wonderful supporters, who dream the dream with us.”