Update on White Pines: A New Home and a Full Slate

Promotional image for Ed Swidey’s THE MEEP PROJECT (Photo credit: Design by Sam Henderson)

Promotional image for Ed Swidey’s THE MEEP PROJECT (Photo credit: Design by Sam Henderson)

On March 1, White Pines Productions, which had been without a headquarters since its displacement from historic Elstowe Manor in 2013 (read about the displacement here), happily relocated back to Elkins Park. Its new permanent home, a freshly remodeled performing arts studio located at 7908 High School Road (on the corner of Montgomery Avenue), is a bright and sunny neighborhood venue where the company will offer local residents and visitors to Cheltenham Township a wide variety of programming.

As a long-time resident of Elkins Park, White Pines’ founding producer Benjamin Lloyd has an acute interest in community development and partnering with other nearby organizations and businesses to help in making the area a “destination for fine dining, wholesome shopping, and dynamic entertainment.” He and his company, in support of the Elkins Park West Renaissance, will offer an active schedule of performances, classes, summer camps, and special events–all at affordable prices. Taught by a roster of Philadelphia-based actors, directors, musicians, and choreographers, the classes for children, teens, adults, and seniors will include acting, movement, music, and puppetry.

According to White Pines’ education director Jennifer MacMillan:

Elkins Park is a very enthusiastic and receptive community for our work. There are not a lot of theaters or performances in the immediate vicinity for residents to attend, so we’ve felt very welcome here and have been extremely well received. And we’re thrilled to be able to bring our educational and cultural programming to our neighbors!

White Pines Productions’ staff and ensemble in front of White Pines Place, Elkins Park (Photo credit: Courtesy of White Pines Productions)

White Pines Productions’ staff and ensemble in front of White Pines Place, Elkins Park (Photo credit: Courtesy of White Pines Productions)

White Pines Place will also be home to Bright Invention: The White Pines Ensemble, for which MacMillan serves as artistic director as well as performer. Consisting of sixteen accomplished regional actors, the group will present shows, every other Saturday night, of long-form improvisation—a genre of spontaneous unscripted theater-making in which actors invent unique scenes based on audience suggestions, within a format created by the ensemble.

In addition to its improv performances, next up for Bright Invention on Saturday, March 15, is a 3 pm matinee of THE MEEP PROJECT by ensemble member Ed Swidey, whose original play for families enjoyed a critically acclaimed workshop run with Simpatico Theatre Project in 2012 (read a review here). Later this month, White Pines Place will host its grand opening celebration, with live performances, music, and refreshments (Sunday, March 30, 7 pm), and a staged reading of HOPE AND GRAVITY (Monday, March 31, 7:30 pm)–a new play by Philadelphia playwright and Elkins Park resident Michael Hollinger–among other premiere offerings. And off-site, White Pines will continue its Summer Resident Ensemble Program in 2014 at The Mohican Outdoor Center in Blairstown, NJ. www.whitepinesproductions.org.

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.