The History of Enter Stage Left Theater
Enter Stage Left Theater was born out of a dream by a group of Hopkinton High School students in the late 1970s to form an independent entertainment company. Paul Champlin originated the concept and Kelly (Westcott) Grill, Mary Scarlata-Rowe and Dawn (Lawrence) Anderson were among those many peers who embraced and forwarded the endeavor, which included the goal of creating and presenting original theatrical and musical works. Over the next few years, the company would informally mount a number of productions which included an original improvisational comedy (presented as a benefit for the Hopkinton Public Library), a musical revue and several talent show entries.
In 1983, fellow ESL booster Carrie Couture secured a grant through the Hopkinton Cultural Arts Council and the company mounted a production of Godspell, which is largely considered Enter Stage Left Theater's first official production. The following year, the Company would produce an original musical drama entitled, The Torch Singer, followed by a demo recording project of an expanded musical score of the same show.
The Company remained largely dormant until the later 1990s when the core devotees decided to resurrect Enter Stage Left Theater with a 1998 production of Painting Churches. The subsequent few years would bring two cabaret shows and several plays for youth and adults to Hopkinton.
2004 marked the start of a collaboration with the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) when ESL mounted an original production, Lullaby of Broadway, as a fundraiser toward restoration of the Terry Barn as a gallery and performance space. Two additional productions would be presented as barn restoration partnership projects in 2005 and 2007.
In 2006, Enter Stage Left Theater became a full-time enterprise upon opening of its studio on Main Street. It would continue to offer theatrical and musical performance opportunities to the community through an ambitious adult and youth production schedule. It also provided vocal and instrumental instruction, folk and jazz coffeehouse performances, open mics, improvisational theater nights, and various other opportunities.
In 2010, Enter Stage Left Theater closed the Main Street studio and joined the CAA on its premises on Hayden Rowe Street. Together, CAA and ESL were able to share resources for the benefit of both. A new organization was formed from the partnership between these two key cultural organizations. The new Hopkinton Center for the Arts became an official 501 (c)(3) in March 2011. Enter Stage Left Theater became the HCA’s resident theater company.
The Hopkinton Center for the Arts’ new facility opened in November of 2015. In celebration of its inauguration and of the 300th anniversary of the Town of Hopkinton, Enter Stage Left Theater’s first production in the mostly completed Delbridge Performing Arts Space was Our Town.
Since then, Enter Stage Left Theater has continued to grow and develop, presenting multitudes of performances for children and adults alike. Its collaboration with the HCA has been an exciting and prolific enterprise.