The thespians who created Surfside Playhouse in 1959 were used to productions in unlikely places.
“Surfside Players staged their shows at the firehouse, in churches and motels, and even on the beach,” Surfside artistic director Bryan Bergeron said.
By 1963, the Players had found their permanent home in a new blockish building at the corner of Fifth Street South and Brevard Avenue in Cocoa Beach. The 250-seat theater remains approachable yet capable of orchestrating major productions.
For its patrons, the playhouse is a second home.
Satellite Beach resident John Kurowski happened upon Surfside
“They immediately made us feel like family,” said Kurowski, who supports the theatre both financially and by volunteering his time.
Kate Schwartz agrees.
“For many of us, Surfside is home away from home, family away from family, and fun to the fullest,” she said.
One of Surfside’s most endearing traits is that, in addition to cutting-edge drama, it is also delighted to regularly include in seasonal offerings. These are a spate of silly but funny shows, such as the highly popular “Fractured,” which takes on subjects such as Dracula.
“There’s a fun vibe that permeates Surfside Playhouse from the minute you walk through the door,” Schwartz added.
With Bergeron at the helm, the Playhouse has expanded its outreach to young and old. Several weekends during the year are available for special theatrical performances. Surfside Youth Players offers both shows for younger audiences and classes for young actors.
A playwriting contest provides local playwrights the opportunity to present original, full-length plays on Surfside’s stage, using their talented actors.
The Players have also sponsored jazz festivals, barbershop quartets and, with a nod to its Cocoa Beach roots, surfing movies.
Surfside is also home to the Playwright’s Workshop of Brevard, a troupe that helps both new and established area playwrights improve their craft through a live audience.
The Playhouse’s newest program launched in 2013 is Fearless Improv Brigade. Classes teach students to think on their feet in front of an audience.
“The thrill of brand-new theatrical stories, devised on the spot, is yours to experience from a seat in the house, or standing on stage,” said Bergeron.
Like potato chips, Surfside Playhouse can be addictive. Ask Kate Schwartz.
“You enter feeling welcomed and leave feeling uplifted and connected as only true community theatre can do,” she said.
For Surfside Playhouse’s current season, visit surfsideplayers.com.