Pontine Theatre is a small miracle.  This theatre has used puppets, mime and stagecraft to convey visions of the past to modern audiences for more than 35 years. Artistic Directors, Marguerite Mathews and Greg Gathers, conspire to fascinate the contemporary mind with original works based on the stories and literature of New England.  There’s really nothing else like it anywhere.”  
                                                               —New Hampshire Magazine

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Pontine’s touring programs are supported by the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.



Each season, Pontine’s artistic directors ring in the holiday season by staging a selection of stories and poems by New England authors. Past programs have featured interpretations of works by Sarah One Jewett, William Dean Howells, Alice Brown, Kate Douglas Wiggin and Odgen Nash, among others. Combining storytelling with puppetry and toy theatre, Pontine brings new life to old favorites and highlights forgotten treasures of New England’s Yuletide past.

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Dearly Earned explores the lives and experiences of 19th century textile mill workers, with a special emphasis on Portsmouth’s own Sagamore Mill and Portsmouth Steam Factory. 

The text is drawn entirely from historical sources – letters, diaries and newspaper articles of the period – including correspondence from the archives of the Lowell National Historical Park. These letters express the hopes and fears of the writers and reveal the difficulties of their working lives in the mills of New England. 

Clippings from 19th century papers, The Daily Morning Chronicle and the Portsmouth Journal provide a snapshot of Portsmouth’s cotton steam mills and tell a forgotten story of the working families who once lived in the tenements of the West End and toiled in the industrial buildings along the North Mill Pond.

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© Pontine Theatre  2023