Our Mission & Vision
The Colonial Theatre produces entertaining and affordable professional theatre with a focus on Shakespeare. As an integral part of the communities we serve, we offer educational programs, training opportunities, and support other local service organizations. Our work is a source of inspiration for people of all ages.
The Colonial Theatre contributes to the cultural and economic growth of the Rhode Island and Connecticut border region and provides high-quality cultural and educational opportunities that enhance the overall quality of life. Our work is entertaining, inspirational and educational.
The Colonial Theatre, a non-profit educational institution incorporated in the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island,
The Colonial Theatre began in April of 1985 with the renovation of two buildings (built in 1844) now on the National Landmark Registry.
The first production opened on June 18, 1985. At our inception, programming involved theatrical performance from February through December, educational programs, along with training and internship programs.
Outreach was also initiated early on with a touring production of scenes from Shakespeare that played in schools and social centers in addition to the theatre. Programming continued to grow, with the addition of reading series for new works, and the development and production of several new works.
In 1991, we introduced our free, outdoor Shakespeare Festival in Westerly's Wilcox Park, which draws about 15,000 people each year. In 2017, it will enter its 26th season as the official Shakespeare Festival of The State of Rhode Island.
In the summer of 2000, we also took up a four-year residence in Connecticut at the University of Connecticut Avery Point Campus in Groton.
In 2001, we initiated our Shakespeare-To-Go program, which served to over 15,000 students in its inaugural year.