In celebration of The Barnstormers Theatre’s 87th summer season, the Cook Memorial Library and The Barnstormers present this exhibit of marquee posters painted by local artists over the years.

The Barnstormers was founded in 1931 by the young Alice and Francis Cleveland (son of Grover) and their friend Ed Goodnow. In the early days the players barnstormed from town to town, then settled into its present building in Tamworth. Except for a few dark summers during World War II, the theatre has operated continuously, making it one of the oldest professional (Equity Actors’ Union) summer theatres in the U.S.

The marquee posters advertising each current and upcoming show occupy the niches

on either side of the theatre’s front porch. In the early days the canvases were simply painted over each week, like the scenery, but for the last several decades they have instead been auctioned off each season to benefit the theatre. I began painting posters and sets in 1974, one of many aimless youth Francis kindly invited to join the crew. I took to it. Since 1982 I have been joined by many other local poster painters with a wide variety of styles. This exhibit includes posters by Kate, Jesse Beecher, Rosy Lamb, Penny Purcell, and Katherine Sandoz.

For more about The Barnstormers – its founding and early days; young actors who went on to fame; amazing costume hats, and more – do visit the exhibit at the Tamworth History Center, across Great Hill Road from the theatre.

Kate Thompson

Barnstormers’ marquee posters on exhibit for July and August
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