From our origins as a children’s theater to the dynamic, multi-faceted organization you see today, Theater in the Open continually evolves to meet the community’s needs. Under its current leadership, Theater in the Open is delivering on all aspects of its mission — as a professional theater company, as a center for youth arts education and as a community partner with the vision to create art that is accessible to all.

In 2017, Theater in the Open was named the curator for the Gatekeeper's House by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, which officially grants Theater in the Open the ability to restore this historic building that has been our headquarters since 1987. As Historic Curators of the property, Theater in the Open is committed to making lasting, historically conscious improvements to the Gatekeeper's House, to preserve it for generations to come. 

The Gatekeeper's House, originally known as the Forester's House, was constructed in 1903 at the southwest corner of the Maudsleigh Estate and served as a welcoming location and landmark to its visitors. The house was designed by William Gibbons Rantoul of the Boston firm, Jacques & Rantoul and is a classic example of American Shingle style. Rantoul’s distinctive use of Shingle style can be seen throughout the remaining estate buildings.


The future of the Gatehouse

fall 2018: A new roof & exterior CEDAR SHINGLES on the garage

The next project as part of the Gatekeeper's House refurbishment is to replace the roof and exterior shingles on the garage. This project will began in the fall of 2018 and was funded in part by a grant from the Essex National Heritage Commission ( and the support of the community who helped us to purchase new cedar shingles. Interested in contributing? Contact Kelly Shea Knowles.

Maudslay is Haunted Garage Fundraiser

During the 2018 Annual Maudslay is Haunted Fundraiser on October 20th and 21st, we will be “selling” the cedar shingles that are being used to renovate the garage. These shingles can be decorated with the arts supplies that we will bring to the trail, and after your art is ready, we will affix the shingles to the garage. The shingles will be placed art-side in, so as to protect the historic look of the Gatehouse property, and your artwork will become part of Theater in the Open—literally! Check this page after Maudslay is Haunted for pictures of all of the artwork that will be part of our renovated garage!

Each cedar shingle will be sold for $25. For more information, email


Our first goal as Historic Curators of the Gatekeeper's House was tearing down the dilapidated porch and replacing it with a new porch, designed by Vesta Architecture and constructed by BLB Custom Builders. We have had plans in place for this project for several years, and as Curators, now had the authority to make this project happen. Over a period of six weeks at the beginning of summer, 2018 the porch was dismantled and replaced with a new and historically accurate entrance to the house. Below are images of the progress, which was completed in September, 2018.