Welcome to the Bonus Day of our Spring Fund Drive, Celebrating Virginia Theater.
It’s an eight-day week at the Hamner Theater- a special bonus for you.

Today we want to focus on you – the people that we do this for. From the earliest times, Virginians have proved hospitable to theater. Did you know that Virginia and Maryland were the only American colonies which never had laws prohibiting play-acting?

“That the drama should have taken root in Virginia earlier than anywhere else in America is not surprising. The Virginians, a gay, pleasure-loving people, had nothing in common with the more sober Puritans of New England…their philosophy was to enjoy life while they could, rather than spend their days making gloomy preparations for death. Far from having prejudices against play-acting, they welcomed the thespian with open arms.

“Williamsburg was the most aristocratic and prosperous town on the continent… It was a scene full of gaiety and abandon. Just the place, it might seem, to support a theatre, yet in Williamsburg, as elsewhere, it was not the wealthy who were the best patrons of the drama. “The Virginia planter,” Seilhamer reminds us, “was a fox hunting squire with the airs of an English duke. In the cities the first families were scarcely less haughty than the royalty itself. The rich were too mighty to patronize the theatre at home.”

“Support of the playhouse came not from the class which could best afford the luxury, but from that large and ever-growing intelligent middle class which was quick to demand all the intellectual pleasures the Old World was enjoying-the same citizens to whose devotion and patriotism was due a little later the establishment of the Republic and who still to-day remain the principal factors in the development of our national drama.” (Arthur Hornblow, History of the Theatre in America from Its Beginnings to the Present).

Bonus Question: When is the Hamner Theater not the Hamner Theater?

To conclude, we would like to share a letter we received in response to Celebrating Virginia Theater Week:
“The older I get, the more I appreciate the pivotal role theater and the rest of the arts serve in our society. We need theater and the arts to maintain a powerful societal force that constantly challenges us to develop into more thoughtful, thinking, pensive, expanding, joyful beings.

“Without the call from the arts for us to grow into admirable humans capable of exploring new and thought-provoking ideas, our society runs the serious danger of de-evolving into a culture of self-centered, self-serving banal beings.”

Congratulations – today is the last day of our Spring Fund Drive, Celebrating Virginia Theater (really)…but please, feel free to continue sending your donations..

Thanks to all who have already given!
Please accept our heartfelt thanks – hope to see you soon at the Hamner.

How you can help to make our Spring Fund Drive, Celebrating Virginia Theater, a success.
Three easy ways to donate today:

  • Call 434.361.1999, or, use our contact form to make a pledge.
  • Download a donation form, and mail it to us at Hamner Theater, P.O. Box 106, Nellysford, Virginia 22958.
  • Donate via PayPal (no PayPal account required). Donate Button

The Hamner Theater is a non-profit 501(c)(3) project of the Rockfish Valley Community Center.
All donations to the Hamner Theater are tax-deductible.