Be sure to visit the following pages for more information on the historic town hall and its rich history as a theatre, as well as for more information on this important project:

Welcome Letter from Chuck Still

Ex.Dir. Chuck Still

“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend Come inside! Come inside!” – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Forgive the cliché, but the temptation to open with that lyric is just about irresistible. Not only did Carl Palmer of ELP play the Kate in May, but “the show that never ends” is so apt a description for this place that it ought to be etched in the concrete outside or at least emblazoned on a coffee mug in the boutique. Since opening almost four years ago, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center has played host to some 875 performances and served almost 100,000 children and adults. That’s an average of almost 220 shows a year or 4 a week for four years. If that’s not a show that never ends, I’m not sure what is. Not even the hardest touring rock group racks up that many shows for that long.

But it’s not just “show that never ends” that makes this lyric so appealing. If there’s another slogan we should adopt, it’s “Come inside! Come inside!” What we do here is intended for the widest possible audience; in effect, we want everyone to come inside. From children and families with the Comcast Children’s Series and Missoula to the raucous and profane with Comedy Zone to the refined and cultured with Chestnut Hill and Salt Marsh Opera, we throw wide our gates, open our arms and embrace our community whoever, whatever they might be.

Neither of these is the easiest way to do business, of course. Who in his right mind would imagine a brand new institution knocking out 220 shows a year, and how do you find your niche which you’re filling two dozen niches a year? Who is this Kate who does so much and how do you define her? What’s this place all about?

Back before we opened, as we sat around discussing the future, we often mused that no matter what we thought we were when we opened, five years on we would be something different. Our community, our audience would steer us where we needed to be. Back then, we felt we couldn’t necessarily envision what the Kate would become.

Well, we were right and we were wrong. We have grown with our audience, but what we are now isn’t drastically different than how we began. We came out of the gate with a mission screaming for variety and we’ve retained that mission ever since.

In our initial 2008 website greeting were these words: “I hope you find in our calendar of events some of that fire for your own life. We’ve got a little bit of everything from opera to comedy from world premieres to timeless classics. You may not like it all, but I know you’re going to like some of it.

Our hand is out. Our door is open. The rest is up to you. Welcome to the Kate.”

Four years later, not much has changed. The show that never ends churns on. Our hands are still out. Welcome to the Kate. Come inside! Come inside!

Chuck Still
Executive Director
300 Main Street
Old Saybrook, CT 06475
(860) 510-0473, ext. 202
chuck.still {at} thekate(.)org

About the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center. It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.