Dorset Theatre Festival

Play in Vermont

Each summer the Dorset Theatre Festival mounts four Main Stage productions and hosts a number of special events and New Play Readings in their intimate theatre, built from three pre-revolutionary barns in 1929.

The Festival draws from the country’s most talented playwrights, actors, and directors to stage dramatic classics, produce great plays from contemporary canon, and provide a platform for fresh new theatrical voices. Above all, Dorset Theatre Festival is always pursuing its single mission: to create an environment in which audiences can experience thought-provoking, inspiring, and entertaining live theatre.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dina Janis, the organization garners accolades for its commitment to new play development and is proud to encourage a new generation of playwrights to test their voices here. “We discover new talent. We launch new plays that go on to national acclaim and the lights of Broadway. We mount regional premieres of Tony Award-winning plays to bring the best of Off-Broadway to Vermont,” says Janis.

Through their Giving Back program and educational outreach, Dorset Theatre Festival also evens the playing field for underserved populations and families and welcomes them into the experience. They partner with other non‐profit organizations to support creativity, build community engagement, and enrich the cultural landscape. “Our goal is to make excellent theatre a shared community experience and inspire our audiences to think, laugh, and feel long after the curtain falls.”


"With great lodging, restaurants shopping and a legendary swimming hole nearby, Dorset, Vermont is a great summer destination for theatre lovers who want everything, and are looking for more than just the same old straw hat offerings. Dina Janis knows her audiences."

Larry Murray, Berkshire on Stage

Our New Play Reading Series features three established writers in public readings of new work in development. Writers are invited to spend several days at our Farmhouse Retreat with their chosen team of actors and director, in an atmosphere in which there is no pressure for performance results – only a respect for process itself as the end goal. The culmination of this work is a public sharing of their exploration of a new work with our New Play Reading Series subscribers. In a short time, this series has become a successful, vibrant and anticipated aspect of our summer program offerings. In retreat, DTF has served as a home to some of the most innovative playwrights working today, including Rajiv Joseph, Samuel L. Hunter, Adam Rapp, Laura Eason, Anna Ziegler, Ken Weitzman , Nicole Burdette, and Cusi Cram, among others.

Our mission is to create bold, innovative and authentic theatre that engages a diverse, multi-generational community, and economically diverse region, enlightening, entertaining and inspiring our audience through the celebration of great plays. We aim to redefine the landscape of theatre by presenting thought-provoking productions drawn from the new and classic canon, as well as through the development of new plays, new audiences and new artists for the future of American theater. We produce theatre that matters. Dorset Theatre Festival has a growing reputation as a small but high quality organization that brings the finest quality theatre artists in all areas to the quaint village of Dorset each summer. Diversity is valued and we approach our programming and hiring of all staff, apprentices, and guest talent with this as a working principle. Though staff and interns work hard, their contributions are valued by leadership who believe that a vibrant collaborative theatre is founded on treating people with fairness and respect.

White clapboard architecture, marble sidewalks, and a charming town green. Just steps from the theatre, you’ll find country inns, sophisticated farm to table dining, artist studios, walking paths…and Manchester!

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