The origins of the Harwich Junior Theatre are not unlike any well-loved fairy tale. From its simple beginnings at the former Exchange Hall in Harwich Center to its current incarnation as a nationally recognized, year-round source of education and entertainment, the Harwich Junior Theatre has always meant more than the sum of its productions. For thousands of children and adults, the Harwich Junior Theatre is family.
Betty Bobp, our founder, was a respected drama teacher at Wheelock College in Boston when she came to Harwich in 1951 with a dream. She envisioned an educational theatre; a place where young people, children, and adults could work and learn together. This organization would provide opportunities for all individuals to experience every aspect of the theatrical experience. From set and costume design, to playwriting, prop making, acting, and directing, HJT would offer space for everyone to stage their dreams.
In contrast to its humble beginnings, Harwich Junior Theater and Harwich Winter Theatre (HJT’s adult resident company) mount up to twelve full-scale productions on an annual basis, attended by audiences of 20,000 — including the tremendously popular school matinees that are attended by thousands of Cape Cod school children. In addition, HJT enrolls 600 students each year in a variety of classes and reaches many more in its acclaimed Educational Outreach Programs.
HJT has evolved from a small, seasonal venture to a full-time, year-round, vibrant and thriving center for education and performing arts. HJT now employs three full-time staff members to oversee the daily business of the theatre. HJT contracts with many theatre professionals including directors, teaching artists, choreographers, designers, playwrights, and musicians to create truly intergenerational theatre. HJT is supported in its many operations by a vast army of devoted volunteers.
With nearly three generations of dedicated staff, volunteers and patrons ready to help transform imagination into reality, Betty Bobp’s wonderful dream will continue to touch children and adults for many years to come.