What is now Bristol Valley Theater (BVT) was originally founded in 1964 as Bristol Valley Playhouse on Seman Road north of Naples, NY by George and Mary Sherwood. After twenty-two years, stewardship was taken over by a not-for-profit foundation, The Friends of Bristol Valley Playhouse. In 1991, the original playhouse “on the hill” closed its doors, and the Friends purchased the vacated Trinity Federated Church on Main Street in Naples.
BVT played one season at the Canandaigua Academy as supporters and volunteers donated $40,000 and countless hours of labor to transform the church into a theater space, which opened for the 1992 summer season and is still our home today.
The Friends of Bristol Valley Playhouse Foundation, Inc. (doing business as Bristol Valley Theater) is a not-for-profit corporation with a three-fold mission: To produce life-affirming theater for a diverse rural and regional audience; To present a variety of performing arts; To provide training to young actors and offer scholarships for that training based on need and merit.
Bristol Valley Theater is dedicated to the vision that the performing arts should be a part of every New York citizen’s life, and that every community needs a theater, as they need a hospital or a library. We are proud to have provided access to the professional performing arts to the Finger Lakes region for over 50 years. Our mission statement specifies “life-affirming” theater as our focus, by which we mean theater that examines, enlightens and enriches the human condition.