By Stephen Schwartz & Roger Hirson
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Here are some lovely shots of our grand lady, Gates Hall. Built in 1825, this lovely old building is a NY State historical site whose deed is held by the Pultneyville Historical Society.
Originally a non-denominational church in 1825, it soon became a community theatre in 1867. That makes it the oldest continuous community theatre in America.
In 1961, The Pultneyville Civic Light Opera Company was created as part of the Sesquicentennial Celebration in the Hamlet, presenting Gilbert & Sullivan operettas each July during Homecoming in the historic theatre. The Pultneyvile Players and PCLOC performed during the ’60s, until the Players disbanded. In the early 1970s, The Gatesinger Company, Ltd. was formed to add Broadway musicals to the season. In 1984, the YouTHeatre was created to offer students an opportunity to perform musicals outside of their school setting. Today, performers from 6 area schools, plus Christian Schools and homeschooled students comprise the casts. The living, breathing home of an active community theatre company, Gates Hall has had it stage transformed into a Japanese town in “The Mikado”; the English countryside in “The Secret Garden”; a pajama factory in “The Pajama Game”; the Oklahoma Territory in “Oklahoma!”, and a fairytale land in “Into the Woods.”
To maintain a historic building takes energy and resources. The Williamson-Pultneyville Historical Society and Gatesinger Company, Ltd., non-profit organizations, rely on patron support to maintain and improve the building and theatre. The organizations are committed to preserving the historic integrity while operating a functioning theatre. Gates Hall is the oldest, continuously active community theatre venue in the United States.
Situated on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, Gates Hall is located at the intersection of Lake Road and Hamilton Street (Lake Ave / Rte. 21), in the Hamlet of Pultneyville, NY. Cast members leave their signatures for posterity in the lighting “coop” above the stage.
Take the backstage tour with us!
Photos taken for Gatesinger Company, Ltd. by Eliza Pope Collins and some photos by Matthew Conheady of NYHistoric.com