Stony Hill was founded in 1946 by a small group of theater enthusiasts in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey who gathered in homes to read plays and poetry, as well as to share their theatrical experiences and aspirations. In 1951 a group made up of young performers was formed and named The Pebble Players which was brought back to life in 2009 – fulfilling a dream of Jayne Myers and Stony Hill Players. Stony Hill was incorporated on June 20, 1952.
The Players moved to Warren in 1970 when they leased the old Union Village Methodist Church on Mountain Ave., converting the annex into a 132-seat theater. The Players' first Warren production was "Cactus Flower," which debuted on April 5, l970.
Two major productions which usually ran for eight performances were offered each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The group's agreement with the church allowed it to use the old building as a playhouse in return for maintaining it. Although the Methodists had moved across the street to new quarters, they did not want to demolish the historic structure.
During its time in Warren, the amateur group put on musicals such as "Kiss Me, Kate," "Pippin" and "Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd." More serious productions included Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" and "Dial M for Murder."
In the spring of 1981 the Warren Fire Department closed the theater in the middle of its run of "Seven Keys to Baldpate," citing fire code violations. Emergency repairs kept the theater open for a time but within a few years the church building was sold and turned into a private residence, forcing the Stony Hill Players to new quarters in New Providence.
Since its inception, the group has performed in a number of venues in Warren, Berkley Heights, New Providence, Summit and Short Hills, the current being the Oakes Memorial Center at 120 Morris Ave. in Summit, New Jersey. Our theater is accessible to audiences from surrounding towns. Close proximity to Interstate Highways, trains and buses we draw from the wider Metro New York New Jersey area for our opera casts and audiences.
Our mission, as a theater group, are to produce a wide selection of staged productions including musicals and opera within our own resources but with a high degree of artistic ability; to promote and foster interest in all aspects of theater in our community including music and children's theater; to offer a learning opportunity to amateur actors, singers, and production staff in our community; and to reach as broad and diverse an audience as possible.
Stony Hill Players produces three shows every season: a youth production in the fall (Oct. /Nov.), one show in the winter (Feb. /Mar.) and the final show of the season in the Spring (May/Jun.). “Amahl and the Night Visitors” also makes an appearance every few years as a Christmas special!
Traditionally our Spring production has been an opera or musical. Opera draws good attendance and performer participation, often bringing outstanding voices from New York City. Some of the recent operatic productions are The Magic Flute, The Mikado, The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Tales of Hoffman, Gianni Schicci, Sour Angelica, Carmen and The Marriage of Figaro.
To see a complete chronology of all productions performed by the Stony Hill Players click HERE.