Weathervane Theatre History

Gibbs Murray and Tom Haas
Weathervane Theatre


In 1934, William Chase, arts critic at The New York Times, began operating the Chase Barn Playhouse, a theater in an old 225-seat barn (circa 1860s) that went on to serve generations of theatergoers in New Hampshire. His niece, Lucy Chase Sparks, took over operations of the theatre after William’s passing in 1948.

Open staging (no proscenium) and a raked, moveable pie section combined with the intimacy of the space made for creative staging and an immediacy the eager audiences were drawn to.

Each summer, New York actors, singers, and dancers were imported to the Playhouse to delight North Country residents and vacationers. For decades, the rafters rang at the Chase Barn with noted performers from Broadway, the Met, and beyond. Chase family members and local folks served as staff and audiences flocked there from grand hotels and country roads until 1962 when the Chase went dark. 


Enter two young men with vision, energy, talent, and enthusiasm for northern New Hampshire . . . and the Weathervane Theatre was born.

Lucy Chase Sparks introduced them to the property on Route 3 that offered two conjoined antique barns just begging to be transformed into a new stage space.

Founded in 1966 by Gibbs Murray and the late Tom Haas, the Weathervane continued the tradition of live, professional summer entertainment in Whitefield that began at the Chase Barn Theatre (shown in photos now and then).


Weathervane performs its first musical: Stop the World, I Want to Get Off


Weathervane’s season becomes the alternating repertory we now know


Weathervane creates a Cabaret Company that runs through the 1988 season. Performing two shows a night in rep, these original productions were written by Tom Haas.


Weathervane becomes affiliated with Actors’ Equity Association


Weathervane creates its intern program.

A tuition-based program it offered unparalleled performance, networking, training and professional mentoring for college-aged early career artists. In 2005 the Intern Program merges with the Patchwork Players (part of the Weathervane off and on since the 60’s), presenting theatre for youth programming throughout the North Country.


Windsock Theatre Camp is created by Ali Lister, Nate Gilbert and Jacques Stewart to provide the fun of theatre and summer day camp all in one!


Weathervane Alumni Association is founded and through fundraising efforts provides Weathervane its rehearsal space (The Grange) and contributes to guest director salaries.


In the winter of 2001, an assessment of structural issues made it impossible to continue to use the original Weathervane for performances. Quickly, the Board and staff began plans to erect a new Theatre, adjacent to the first.


A flurry of activity, a massive amount of fundraising, and a 37th Season that began on the borrowed stage space at the White Mountains Regional all culminated in the opening of the “new” Weathervane in August 2002.

With seating expanded to 250, sightlines cleared of crossbeams, more aisle space and then state-of-the-art equipment, the new home managed to recreate the signature staging and creative possibilities for which the Weathervane was known.

The old space, shored up for workshop use, still housed dressing rooms, major storage and work space, and the necessary accumulated inventory of the past decades. The ‘old barn’ was a major asset and continual reminder of the history of the Weathervane.


But in October 2011, a devastating fire took down the original Weathervane with its valuable contents and space. Quick, professional work by the Whitefield Fire Department and departments from nine other towns limited the destruction to the public wing and stage right area of the directly adjacent ‘new’ Theatre.

All told, when the smoke cleared, the loss and damages would amount to over $1 million . . . only about a third covered by insurance.


Once again, the Board and staff began to make replacement, repair, and rebuilding plans. While the insurance claims would begin to replace the “stuff” and fix the public/restroom wing, it was the value of that space that provided the greatest challenge.

In all the fire took literally thousands of square feet of work space, dressing room space, and production storage both for inventory and working our alternating schedule. All that, as well as repairs to the extant Theatre, had to be addressed if the Mainstage was to open for Season 47. And it did, with much fanfare, and with some additional work (the removal of scenic/costume outbuilding Birch Hill, for one thing; and the building of an entirely new workshop space) all completed by 2013.

Where We Are Now

After surviving a pandemic and garnering national attention in The New York Times, the Weathervane enters its 58th season with its longest season yet (June 9 – October 14).

Recent developments include outdoor programming (Picnic with Patchwork), free Shakespeare in the Park (North Country Shakes), livestream programming, and paying interns as opposed to a tuition based program.

Weathervane Theatre

Historic Production Photography at the Weathervane Theatre by Larry Presby, Paul Lister, and Mark Winter

Production History


Mary, Mary • Never Too Late • The Glass Menagerie • Sunday in New York • Under Milkwood • The Knack • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? • The Voice of the Turtle


Any Wednesday • Luv • Barefoot in the Park • U.S.A. • The Private Ear and the Public Eye • A Thousand Clowns • The Miracle Worker • Ah, Wilderness! • The Subject Was Roses


The Odd Couple • A Thurber Carnival • Black Comedy • Stop the World, I Want to Get Off • The Drunkard • A Delicate Balance • A Long Day’s Journey Into Night • The Star Spangled Girl


The Beauty Part • The Fantasticks Camelot • Harvey • The Killing of Sister George • The Sound of Music • You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running


Once Upon a Mattress • Guys and Dolls • Cactus Flower • Paint Your Wagon • Barefoot in the Park • The Skin of Our Teeth


Love Games of the Gods • Plaza Suite • The Matchmaker • South Pacific • My Fair Lady • A Midsummer Night’s Dream • Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying


Cyrano de Bergerac • A Doll’s House • Man of La Mancha • Marat/Sade • Fiddler on the Roof • You Can’t Take It With You • The King and I • The Last of the Red Hot Lovers


You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown • Our Town • The Most Happy Fella • The Threepenny Opera • Funny Girl • The Odd Couple • A Streetcar Named Desire • Cabaret • Forty Carats


Godspell • Heartbreak House • Play It Again, Sam • Hello, Dolly! • Kiss Me, Kate • Romeo and Juliet • Dial M for Murder • Fiddler on the Roof • No, No, Nanette


The Man Who Came to Dinner • The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes • Mame • Company • Brigadoon • Much Ado About Nothing • The Music Man • Private Lives


Camelot • Bus Stop • Finian’s Rainbow • Sleuth • Oklahoma! • The Three Sisters • Twelfth Night • Promises, Promises


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum • Dracula, Prince of Darkness • The Miracle Worker • My Fair Lady • A Shot in the Dark • Two for the Seesaw • Sweet Charity • Absurd Person Singular


Charley’s Aunt • Blithe Spirit • A Midsummer Night’s Dream • Vanities • The Mouse Trap • Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead


Man of La Mancha • Peter Pan • Guys and Dolls • A Thurber Carnival • South Pacific • Operetta, My Dear Watson


Showboat • Deathtrap • Cabaret • Annie Get Your Gun • Brigadoon • Fiddler on the Roof


Gypsy • Diamond Studs • Stop the World, I Want to Get Off • The Pajama Game • Ten Little Indians • The Sound of Music


The King and I • Godspell • Murder on the Nile • Oliver! • Harvey • Cinderella


Carousel • Annie • West Side Story • Murder Most Foul • My Fair Lady • Billy Bishop Goes to War • You Can’t Take It With You 


Camelot • Mass Appeal • Children of a Lesser God • The Mikado • Candide • Oklahoma! • They’re Playing Our Song • Tartuffe


H.M.S. Pinafore • Greater Tuna • Crimes of the Heart • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat • Brigadoon • The Music Man • Candida • Guys and Dolls


Finian’s Rainbow • Dracula • Painting Churches • On the Town • The School for Wives Beyond Therapy • Kiss Me, Kate


Fiddler on the Roof • Amadeus • Anything Goes • Gigi • The Dining Room • Bye Bye Birdie • The Importance of Being Earnest


The Mystery of Edwin Drood • Quilters • Evita • The Marriage of Bette and Boo • The Foreigner • The Boys from Syracuse • The Sound of Music


A Chorus Line • Educating Rita • Wonderful Town • 42nd Street • Hair • The King and I • Biloxi Blues


Man of La Mancha • Annie • Harvey • Billy Bishop Goes to War • Oklahoma! • Kismet • The Pirates of Penzance


Can-Can • The Odd Couple • Nunsense • Peter Pan • Hello, Dolly! • Brigadoon • The 1940’s Radio Hour


Annie Get Your Gun • Lend Me A Tenor • Our Town • Moose Capades • Cabaret • The Three Musketeers • South Pacific • Me and My Girl • Pump Boys and Dinettes


Love Letters • The Boy Friend • Nunsense II • Corpse! • Guys and Dolls • The Music Man • The Miser • She Loves Me


Classic Tales Songbook • Cabaret • Damn Yankees • It Runs In the Family • Hans Christian Andersen • Kiss Me, Kate • The Secret Garden • Ah, Wilderness! • West Side Story


Once on This Island • Forever Plaid • You Can’t Take It With You • The Will Rogers Follies • Carousel • Out of Order • Phantom • Love Letters


Greater Tuna • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat • The Fantasticks • Crazy for You • Camelot • Run for Your Wife • Jekyll and Hyde


Children of Eden • Grease • Ain’t Misbehavin’ • Don’t Dress for Dinner • Twelfth Night/High Moon • Nunsense • Into the Woods


1776 • Five Guys Named Moe • Sister Amnesia’s Country & Western Nunsense Jamboree • Move Over, Mrs. Markham • Little Shop of Horrors • The Crucible • La Cage aux Folles


State Fair • I Do! I Do! • Perfect Wedding • Peter Pan • Sophisticated Ladies • Cold Storage • Evita


Chicago • Swingtime Canteen • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [abridged] • One for the Pot • Once on This Island • Fiddler on the Roof • The King and I


The Music Man • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat • The Complete History of America [abridged] • I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change • Rumors • Cabaret • Floyd Collins


Titanic • Smokey Joe’s Cafe • Baby Art • Parade • Not Now, Darling • Jesus Christ Superstar


Footloose • The Sound of Music • The Bible: The Complete Word of God [abridged] • Side Show • Noises Off • Ragtime • It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues


Gypsy • Caught in the Net • Rock, Rhythm ’n’ Soul • Big River • Bat Boy • Proof • The Wiz


Disney’s Beauty and the Beast • Why Not Stay for Breakfast? • Aida • All That Jazz! • Hit the Road, Jack! • Cash on Delivery • West Side Story


Annie • Harvey • Jump ’n’ Jive! • My Fair Lady • Tom, Dick & Harry • A Man of No Importance • Miss Saigon


Peter Pan • Country Cookin’ • The Woman in Black • Guys and Dolls • The Full Monty • The Philadelphia Story • Evita


Babes in Arms • Motor City • Revue • Picasso at the Lapin Agile • All the Great Books [abridged] • Oklahoma! • Violet • Rent


Hairspray • Ain’t Misbehavin’ • Doubt, A Parable • The Producers • Curtains • Blithe Spirit • Sweeney Todd


Bye Bye Birdie • Table Manners • Twist & Shout: A Beatles Songbook • South Pacific • Hair • The Three Musketeer • Ragtime


Legally Blonde • Race • Swing Set: A WWII Musical Scrapbook • The Music Man • Boeing-Boeing • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee • La Cage aux Folles


9 to 5 • Sylvia • Moose Capades • Kiss Me, Kate • Moon Over Buffalo Avenue Q • Young Frankenstein


Annie Get Your Gun • Les Miserables • Funny Money • Circle Mirror Transformation • Sing a Song of Sondheim • Shrek • Once on This Island


Annie • The 39 Steps • Cotton Club • Mary Poppins • God of Carnage • Next to Normal • Memphis


Fiddler on the Roof • Smokey Joe’s Cafe • Oleanna • Into the Woods • Lend Me a Tenor • The Full Monty • Floyd Collins


Mamma Mia! • Driving Miss Daisy • Meet the Beatles • The King and I • The Wiz • To Kill a Mockingbird • Peter and the Starcatcher


Hairspray • The Dining Room • The Last Five Years • Gypsy • Seussical™ • Inherit the Wind • West Side Story


Disney’s The Little Mermaid • The Foreigner • Always…Patsy Cline • Chicago • OurTown • Monty Python’s Spamalot • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat


Irving Berlin’s White Christmas • Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks • Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill • Spring Awakening in Concert • The Drowsy Chaperone • Bright Star • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time • Sister Act


Nice Work If You Can Get It • Speech and Debate • Heathers: The Musical • Broadway Road Trip • Brush Up Your Shakespeare • Top of the Charts • Little Shop of Horrors • The World Goes ‘Round • Miracle on South Division Street


Buyer & Cellar • Green Day’s American Idiot • Hello, Dolly! • Disaster! • Kinky Boots • Amadeus • The Addams Family • Pippin • The Mountaintop • Always…Patsy Cline • She Loves Me


Million Dollar Quartet • Eurydice • The Marvelous Wonderettes • A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder • Jesus Christ Superstar • A Class Act • Blood Brothers • Intimate Apparel • A Chorus Line


Jersey BoysStones in His PocketsHonky Tonk LaundryMeteor ShowerDirty Rotten ScoundrelsA Midsummer Night’s DreamMamma Mia!Guys and DollsPrimaryWho’s Holiday!Winter Wonderettes


Beautiful: The Carole King Musical • The Wedding Singer •  What the Constitution Means to Me • Skeleton Crew • Everybody’s Talking About Jamie •  Gallery •  The Full Monty •  Clue • Romeo & Juliet •  Cabaret