In the 1920s, developer Carl Fisher constructed the Montauk Tennis Auditorium—the original Montauk Playhouse. Now, the Town of East Hampton owns the Playhouse. The Eastern half of the facility has been in operation since it was renovated in 2006 and currently houses nonprofit and for-profit town services. The Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation (MPCCF) has been working hard to bring new life to the rest of this historic venue. Plans are in the works for a community aquatic and cultural center.
Susan Henkin, the Executive Director of MPCCF, says, “We have a plan to raise the necessary funds to begin construction, but it will take community effort, and once the community center is completed, our business project will be self-sustaining. We’ll be able to maintain all that we’re doing on membership and program revenue, which is huge for a nonprofit!”
The MPCCF current fundraising efforts include Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk on July 30. “Montauk is a beautiful and eclectic community. I’m always happy to be in the presence of our local residents, and I’m really looking forward to the food,” says Henkin.
The Playhouse’s signature event is also coming up, Gala for the Playhouse, on August 6. “We’re so excited. We’re looking forward to having Trombone Shorty, and fabulous live and silent auction prizes.”
The planned aquatic center will feature two pools: one for athletics, and one for recreation.
“The pools will provide opportunities for fitness training, rehabilitation and Drownproofing,” says Henkin. “Montauk is surrounded by water on three sides, so it’s really important to have water safety training.”
Other possible uses for the pool include morning Mommy-and-me classes, and private and group swimming lessons. “Our fundamental goal is to provide a space for families year-round, from recreation to birthday parties, as well as providing a fun place for people to go to on rainy days,” Henkin says.
The other component of the plan, a cultural center, will provide performance space and a meeting and activity room for the purpose of theater productions, live music, conferences and community programming. “There’s going to be a larger and a smaller theater,” Henkin explains. “The smaller theater, which can hold up to 100 people, can be open for civic organizations, while other activities can take place in the large room that holds up to 250 people.”
Also included in the design is a two story light-filled entry lobby that will be an ideal space for exhibits and art shows, while outside the beautiful grounds can be used for sculpture exhibitions.
“I think the programming will only be limited by our imagination. We’re hoping for the Montauk Playhouse to be a gathering place for local families with young children, and a place to go to for evening parties, movie nights, teen lectures, adult education series and master classes,” says Henkin.
The Montauk Playhouse could begin construction as early as next year, the entire project taking approximately 12 to 15 months to complete. Henkin is confident in the Cultural and Aquatic Center coming together in the near future.
The oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Marc Murphy and Eden Grinshpan debuts on Saturday, July 30. General Admission for ClambakeMTK, from 7:30–10 p.m., is $150. VIP tickets are $250, and include access to the after-party from 10 p.m.–12 a.m.
Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian, is Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. VIP tickets for Harvest East End are $285 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30–10 p.m., is $135.
Visit DansTasteofSummer.com for tickets and info for all our Dan’s Taste of Summer events.