The Cider Mill Playhouse was founded in 1976 by Dr. John Bielenberg. He was a professor at Binghamton University in New York and founded the Cider Mill Playhouse. He founded it as a space to expand his schools theatre program and to get away from the university campus. He wanted an area where the theatre students could better explore theatre and connect with their community. He wanted the theatre to broaden the opportunities that the students had to practice the art of theatre and to integrate them with professional theatre. It was called the Cider Mill Playhouse because its home of 41 years was a renovated apple warehouse in Endicott, New York. The Cider Mill Playhouse produced many types of theatrical shows from comedies, to dramas, to musicals. Its first production was Witness for the Prosecution in 1976. Early productions included Company, A Raisin in the Sun, South Pacific, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. One of their more prominent productions was that of A Christmas Carol. In 1982, they began performing a musical version of the show and Dr. John Bielenberg copyrighted that version. The final version of this show was put on in 2015 and in 2016 a new production began to address copyright. The Cider Mill Playhouses final season included When In Carthage, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, The Importance of Being Earnest, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Drowsy Chaperone, and finally, Pump Boys and the Dinettes.
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The Cider Mill Playhouse was a member of the Theatre Communications Group. This groups mission statement is to To strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. It works to promote networking of member theatres and promotion of the art of theatre. The Cider Mill also began a contract with Actors Equity Association that allowed it to run as a level 5 small professional theatre on December 21, 2015. In 1991, the university cut funding of the theatre and it became a non-profit organization until its closure. Unfortunately, as of August 31, 2017, the Cider Mill Playhouse is no longer functioning. After a dispute with the landlord that led to them losing their lease on the property and the inability to find a new location, the theatre decided to stop operations. They had tried to gain more funds to find a new property by staging a fundraising campaign, but efforts were futile. They also had a gala in October of 2017 in hopes to increase funds and were open to donations, but it was not enough to keep the Cider Mill in business. They had their tickets honored at Chenango River Theatre and ceased new productions after that. Their website and Facebook pages have been shut down and very little information can be found on them. Most articles that can still be found on them are about their closure. There is now a Cider Mill Stage being operated on the former property, but it is run by different management. It operates as a rental stage for productions and meetings and can be rented on a day by day, week or monthly basis.
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Practical Elements of Stagecraft. (2019, Jun 24).
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