Falmouth Historical Society Celebrates 50 Years of College Light Opera

It’s almost impossible to believe 50 years has passed since the College Light Opera Company performed its first production of Pirates of Penzance, at Highfield Theatre. To honor and celebrate this incredible milestone, the Falmouth Museums on the Green is now offering a special retrospective exhibit to honor the theatrical group’s golden anniversary: “Celebrating 50 Years of the College Light Opera Company.”

The exhibit includes wonderful and historic information and displays from CLOC, such as posters, playbills, photographs, newspaper clippings, costumes and other memorabilia, telling the story of where it began, how it evolved, and what life was like on and offstage for the 3,500-plus technicians, costumers and performers who spent time here.

In 1947, Arthur J. Beckhard, a producer and promoter, purchased Highfield Hall and turned the barn into a theatre. Twelve years later, the property’s new owner, DeWitt TerHeun, invited the Oberlin College Gilbert and Sullivan Players to perform there. The relationship with the college lasted almost a decade. In 1969, two Oberlin grads, Robert Haslun and Donald Tull, became the founders and co-producers of College Light Opera Company, whose first show, The Pirates of Penzance, was produced in 1969.

Today, CLOC is the largest resident theatre company in the United States. The not-for-profit educational theatre, led by Producer/Executive Director E. Mark Murphy and Producer/Artistic Director Mark A. Pearson (a CLOC alum) performs nine operettas and musicals each season. Applicants vying for a highly coveted spot with the company are talented university-level students from all over the country. Many graduates of the program have gone on to successful performance and education careers.

The museum exhibit, which will be showcased in the Cultural Center through August 21, is a working collaboration between the two nonprofit organizations. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience 50 years of celebration with the College Light Opera Company! Admission to the exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The exhibit is located at Falmouth Museums on the Green, 55 Palmer Ave, Falmouth.

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for CapeCod.com, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.

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