In an age when the average life of an American theatre company is only five years, the Oldcastle Theatre Company is thrilled to be celebrating our 47th birthday!
Formed by five New York actors in 1972, the troupe began touring in Vermont because one of its founding members, Eric Peterson, was originally from Bennington.
Plays developed at Oldcastle have been produced in more than 25 states and in such foreign countries as South Africa, Canada, Spain and Argentina. OTC presents at least one new play each season and has premiered plays by such well-known writers as Elliot Hays, Reginald Rose and Bob Shanks. Tony winning actresses such as Karen Ziemba and Emmy winning actors and directors such as Richard Thomas, James Goldstone, Melissa Leo, Larkin Malloy and others have worked with the company over the years. Academy Award winning composer, John Addison, wrote original music for an OTC premier production.
In the early days the troupe toured in Vermont, New York and New Jersey with many Vermont performances taking place at the historic Park-McCullough House in North Bennington. The first performance was of John Barton’s THE HOLLOW CROWN and was followed by a production of Dylan Thomas’ UNDER MILKWOOD. Oldcastle remained a touring company until 1977 when the company took residence at Southern Vermont College in Bennington. The theatre remained at the college until 1994. Oldcastle also spent two summers in residence at Bennington College and did two winters in residence and joint productions with the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. From 1994 until 2011, Oldcastle was in residence at the Bennington Center for the Arts. In 2012, Oldcastle moved to its new artistic home in downtown Bennington at 331 Main Street.
Oldcastle has always been cognizant of its role as a New England theatre. It has produced several plays with special relationships to the Green Mountain State. It toured Vermont with the statehood bicentennial play, 109 HATS TO BENNINGTON, presented ETHAN, an original play about Green Mountain boy Ethan Allen and his band of merry men: presented both on Vermont Public television and in a special performance before the Vermont Legislature. We presented THE YANKEE TRADITION, AN EVENING OF NEW ENGLAND. Oldcastle also developed David Budbill’s remarkable play, JUDEVINE based on his poetry which presents Vermont as a third world nation. In 2001, Oldcastle premiered CIVIL UNION a play about the social, political and personal costs of Vermont′s same-sex union law. It has received awards from the New England Theatre Conference and the Vermont Arts Council.
Oldcastle is a true company of actors, writers, directors and designers working together over time to create a theatrical style as well as developing s close long term relationship with its audience.
Entering its 45th season, Oldcastle has produced almost 300 shows and is now creating a new chapter of exciting growth, as Oldcastle renovates its new home the new Oldcastle Theatre in downtown Bennington.