Headquartered in Auburn, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Inc. incorporates two distinct theatrical entities: Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival and Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre. Originally offering youth drama classes as the Auburn Children’s Theatre, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse was founded in 1958, celebrating its 60th Anniversary as an organization in 2018.
The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival presents classic and contemporary works for a diverse audience to spur social awareness and cultural development in the local area. Located in the picturesque Finger Lakes wine region of Central New York, four hours from NYC and situated between Syracuse, Rochester, and Ithaca, the Festival is one of the largest producing musical theatre organizations in New York State, outside of New York City. Annual performances take place at the Preston H. Thomas Theatre in the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, in Auburn’s Emerson Park.
The Festival has expanded to include a new works series called The PiTCH, presented at the Carriage House Theater. The PiTCH encourages audience input into the development of new musicals. Previous PiTCH collaborators have gone on to further produce their pieces, including 2017 contributor ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, which will make the leap onto the Festival’s main stage during the 2018 Season.
The Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre is the largest touring children’s theatre in Upstate New York and one of the largest in the country. The Youth Theatre touring company reaches more than 100,000 students, in over 70 school districts across the state, through its curriculum based multi-discipline Sequential Dramatics Program.
Youth Theatre programming has grown to include programs like Junior Stars, where students learn the fundamentals of theatrical performance, and All Access, where participants take an active look behind the scenes of a Festival production, and learn the moves from professionals. Youth Theatre productions have also expanded to include performances at the new West End Theater in Auburn.
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