Nestled along the banks of the Pemigewasset River lies one of northern New England’s premier performing arts centers. The North Country Center for the Arts dates back to the mid-1980s when local business leaders and community members came together to explore the possibility of creating a community performing arts center in the Millfront Marketplace in Lincoln. In 1986, the North County Center for the Arts (NCCA) was officially born.
In the summer of 1986, the NCCA produced its first event under a tent at the Mill at Loon Mountain. The two-month-long Children’s Theatre Festival was a huge success and the NCCA hired Van McLeod, the first Producing Director. The following summer, the NCCA transformed the former paper mill in Lincoln into the Papermill Theatre. During its first season, the NCCA performed Carnival, Harvey, Deathtrap, and Cabaret.
After over 80 professional productions, the NCCA performed its final summer season at the Papermill Theatre in 2009. The old paper mill building was demolished that fall, making way for the new facility that is now known as Jean’s Playhouse. Jean’s Playhouse was officially opened in July 2012 and included performances of The Wedding Singer, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and A Grand Night for Singing. The new playhouse is named after long-time NCCA supporter and local leader, Jean Hallager, and is celebrating its 10th anniversary of opening in 2022!
Unlike the Papermill Theatre, Jean’s Playhouse allows for year-round productions and has three different branches of operation – Our Mainstage productions, produced in-house; Our Presenting Acts, such as comedians, musicians, and films; And our Education programming, including IMPACT Touring Children’s Theatre and the StageSetters Youth Program.
The IMPACT Touring Children’s Theatre includes the following 2022 shows: Lost in Wonderland (July 13th @ 10am), Neverland (July 20th @10am), Little Red Riding Hood (July 27th @10am), Return to Oz (August 3rd @10am), Jack & the Beanstalk (August 10th @10am).
The summer 2022 season will kick off in July with the weekend-long outdoor concert – The Sound of Music. The concert was held in 2021 and it was such a hit that NCCA is bringing it back for round two in 2022!
The first show of the season, Cabaret, is only fitting. First performed by NCCA in 1986, the NCCA will be performing Cabaret yet again. Cabaret is your classical musical that focuses on the hedonistic nightlife at a seedy club in pre-WWII Berlin. If you’ve never been to a musical, Cabaret is a great one to see – check it out from July 14th-30th!
Next up is Mamma Mia! Written by British playwright, Catherine Johnson, Mamma Mia! Is based on the songs of ABBA. If you liked the movies, then you don’t want to miss the musical! Mamma Mia is running from August 4th-20th.
The summer season ends with Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. The play is a parody of a murder mystery and is performed by a cast of four with each actor playing multiple roles. Laughs will be had from August 25th-September 3rd!
The Labor Day Comedy Show will continue NCCA’s comedic theme on Sunday, September 4th at 7:30pm with Greg Boggis hosting fantastic, Boston-Based comedians Paul Nardizzi and Emily Ruskowski.
The 2022 Fall Season at NCCA is sure to be an exciting one. Kicking it off is the 2022 Crafted Concert Series, running on Saturday September 24th, Saturday October 1st, and Saturday October 8th. Shows will be at 7:30pm while food trucks and craft beverage vendors (sponsored by Woodstock Inn Brewery & Rhythm Craft Beverages) will be occupying the parking and green areas outside during the afternoon hours prior to the shows. Be sure to add NCCA to your list of stops during these prime leaf-peeping weekends!
October brings the Columbus Day Weekend Comedy Show on Sunday, October 9th at 7:30pm and the Ghost Light Haunted Attraction, running October 21st-30th. Stay tuned for more details on these events!
Sneak peeks for Winter Programming include the StageSetters Youth Show, running November 11th-13th, A White Mountains Christmas, running December 3rd & 4th, and the Annual Warren Miller Extreme Ski Film on Friday, December 30th.
The best and most affordable way to see the 2022 shows is through purchasing a summer season subscription. The First Call Subscription gives you one ticket to each of the four summer productions for the most affordable price. It gives you access to the best seats as well! If you can’t commit to the whole season, you can purchase the First Call Pairs, which is two tickets to any one of the main stage summer shows.
Has all this excitement got you feeling hungry? NCCA has paired with numerous local dining establishments to offer “Dinner & a Show” deals. Read more here!
It’s rare for small mountain communities to have an award-winning performing arts center that attracts performers from all over the country and world. If you can’t make one of the shows this summer, you can support the NCCA through their Annual Fund or by volunteering as an usher.
The famous Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde, once said, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
Discover the magic of the theatre this summer at the North Country Center for the Arts.