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Brookfield Theatre for the Arts

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Brookfield Theatre for the Arts
250px
Logo of the theatre
Address184 Whisconier Rd.
Brookfield, Connecticut
United States
TypeIndoor theatre
Capacity135
Construction
Opened1957
Rebuilt1957, 2005
Years active1957-present
Website
http://www.brookfieldtheatre.org/
File:Brookfield Theatre for the Arts.jpg
The front entrance to the theatre

The Brookfield Theatre for the Arts is a theater located in the historic Curtis School for Boys gymnasium building in Brookfield, Connecticut, located within the Brookfield Center Historic District. The theater has a capacity of 135 people and hosts a variety of entertainment events such as films, plays, and musical performances.[1]

Every year five community productions are chosen and each run for months at a time. Additional workshops and special events are added throughout the year, such as the Brookfield Film Festival which is held by the Brookfield Arts Commission.[2] The festival lasts three days, and screens short and foreign films.[3][4]

History[edit | edit source]

The contemporary company was established in as the "Country Players of Brookfield."[5][6] The name appears to reference the Brookfield Players, an acting company founded in Brookfield in the 1930s by Virgil Geddes.[7][8]

The Curtis School for Boys, as seen in 1883

Curtis School for Boys[edit | edit source]

In 1883, the Curtis School for Boys opened in Brookfield, Connecticut, after relocating from the town of Bethlehem, Connecticut.[9][10][11]

The school was founded by Frederick Smiley Curtis, a mentor and educator who was also the last surviving member of the Yale University Class of 1869.[12] Curtis was born February 18, 1850 in Stratford, Connecticut and earned the PhD at Yale University. He taught at West Chester University (Then known as Westchester Norman School), and then at Swarthmore College before founding the Curtis School.[13]

The school campus had seven buildings, including the rustic style stone-and-wooden beam gymnasium built in 1907.[14][15] The school's property also consisted of main classrooms, a chapel, a barn and cottage.[16] The Curtis School closed its doors in 1943.[17]

Historic building[edit | edit source]

The Theatre is housed in the former Curtis School gymnasium, a building that was standing empty until it was purchased by the Brookfield Country Players in 1957 and remodeled as a community theater.[18][19] A dressing room was added in the 1960s and, in the 1980s, a backstage space was constructed.[6]

The building, in rustic style, originally featured a massive stone fireplace at each end of the gymnasium. While one fireplace has been walled over behind what is now the stage, the other remains "a beautiful piece of functional architecture".[14]

Theatre[edit | edit source]

The theater organization grew to include various cultural offerings. In 2003 the name was changed to "The Brookfield Theatre for the Arts" (TBTA) to show it is intended to be a center for creativity for the greater Brookfield region. The new lobby, dedicated in 2005, has been used for informal gatherings, workshops, cultural events, and art shows. As part of the 60th anniversary celebration, the lobby was remodeled and rededicated as an art gallery with a Board member acting as curator for fine art shows throughout the year.[20]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Brookfield Theatre for the Arts". Brookfieldtheatre.org. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  2. "Brookfield Theatre for the Arts in Connecticut Show Listings". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  3. "FILM FESTIVAL (BFF) Archives -". Brookfieldartscommission.org. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. Julia Perkins (December 13, 2017). "Brookfield Theatre for the Arts marks 50th anniversary in style". Danbury News Times. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  5. "Brookfield Theatre for the Arts' 60th season opens with 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'". Litchfield County Times. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Brookfield Theatre for the Arts marks 50th anniversary in style". Danbury News Times. November 29, 2007. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  7. Duffy, Albert (6 August 1933). "High-Grade Drama Staged At Low Cost In Summer Theaters; Virgil Geddes, Impresario, Believes Natural Cooling System, Controlled By Hinged Clapboards, Second To None". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  8. Barbara Page, "Remembering the Twenties," Vassar Quarterly, Volume LXXVI, Number 4, 1 June 1980.
  9. Offord, John (1 September 1910). "A Personal Touch in the Training of Boys". New York Observer. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  10. https://books.google.com/books?id=lWvJDCYA4CUC&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149&dq=curtis+school+for+boys+brookfield&source=bl&ots=HMXG2zqNIG&sig=0BM0AQQvhetLXItjI5jX75S81G8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjX7K6q5snaAhURx1kKHWawCN0Q6AEIUjAI#v=onepage&q=curtis%20school%20for%20boys&f=false History of the Curtis School for Boys, The Handbook of Private Schools, Volume 5, published 1919.
  11. https://www.brookfieldcthistory.org/page_historical_timeline.html Timeline of Events Brookfield Museum and Historical Society
  12. https://www.nytimes.com/1930/02/11/archives/fs-curtis-educator-dies-in-connecticut-founder-of-boys-school-was.html New York Times Archived Article
  13. Herringshaw, Thomas William (1913). Herringshaw's American Blue-book of Biography. American Publishers' Company. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Daley, Sherri (26 November 2000). "Architectural Improv: Theaters Find Unlikely Homes". New York Times. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  15. Hughes, C.J. (9 June 2011). "Exurb With Suburban Trimmings". New York Times. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  16. https://patch.com/connecticut/brookfield/town-owned-cottage-barn-goes-to-auction Curtis School for Boys property goes to auction
  17. http://www.livingplaces.com/CT/Fairfield_County/Brookfield_Town/Brookfield_Center_Historic_District.html History of the Brookfield Center Historic District and the Curtis School for Boys
  18. "HISTORY OF BROOKFIELD, CONNECTICUT". Nynjctbotany.org. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  19. Marilyn S. Whittlesey (1999). Brookfield. Arcadia Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 9780738501161.
  20. "Spotlight: The Brookfield Theatre for the Arts". Onstageblog.com. Retrieved 19 April 2018.

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 41°28′57″N 73°24′34″W / 41.4825°N 73.4095°W / 41.4825; -73.4095


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