Nestled in downtown Nantucket, the Dreamland at 17 S Water St has a mission to unite the community and bring people together to experience the joys of film, art, culture, and learning. This mission is dedicated to fostering community on the island all year round. The primary goal is to enhance the cultural atmosphere on Nantucket. Thanks to generous donations of private individuals, the theater has been lovingly restored. It has an extensive history back over 180 years.
In 1832, the building was first constructed as a Quaker meetinghouse, and it served as a place for open meetings advocating the abolition of slavery. It then became a factory for producing straw hats and, in 1880, a roller skating rink. In 1883, the building was dismantled, relocated to Brant Point, and integrated into the Nantucket Hotel. In 1906, the building was moved to its present location, where it was reopened as Moving Picture Show.
In 1911, the space was given a new name – the Dreamland Theatre. It showed the latest moving pictures and also served as a venue for vaudeville entertainment. After being renovated, the theatre was reopened in 1922.
In 2007, the Dreamland Foundation, a non-profit organization, purchased the building to bring it back to its original grandeur. Private benefactors contributed to the cause, and the theatre was reborn as a world-class performing arts center. Following a complete renovation, the theatre opened its doors to a new generation in June 2012.
The Dreamland, situated at 17 South Water Street in the heart of Nantucket, is open all year. This indoor facility offers the chance to experience the latest Hollywood blockbusters in either Main or Studio theaters and a selection of independent films. For those looking for a live performance, has provides a variety of public events and family theatre with the Dreamland Stage Company. The Dreamland offers the perfect setting for private rentals and events, with historical elements and stunning views of Nantucket Harbor from the terrace.
Harborview Room and Terrace
Dreamland Theater’s Harborview Room is ideal for various occasions, from weddings and social gatherings to lectures and workshops. With direct access to its commercial kitchen, the Room boasts a marvelous panoramic view of Nantucket Harbor from its private terrace. Host your special events, meetings, birthdays, and more in this beautiful venue. Enjoy the convenience and stunning views the Harborview Room has to offer.
The Studio Theater is a multi-purpose venue packed with historical charm. Refurbished trusses, re-purposed floorboards, and original windows have been preserved and restored, giving the space an aged appeal. To top it off, a custom state-of-the-art digital projector and sound system create a perfect setting for any social gathering, live comedy show, live concert, theatre, movie, corporate function, wedding, birthday, or private movie screening. The room can accommodate up to 120 guests in banquet seating.
First-run movies, lectures, community events, live game shows, theatre, musicals, concerts, and more – Dreamland’s Main Theater has something for everyone! The movie screen is designed to recess, giving you over 400 square feet of performance space. With a top-of-the-line digital projector and sound system, your event will be seen and heard. This state-of-the-art film and performing arts theater can accommodate up to 314 people, making it the perfect venue for your next show.
Dreamland offers an impressive additional feature for events or private gatherings – a completely functional catering kitchen.
Dreamland Stage Company
Nestled in the historical Nantucket Dreamland, The Dreamland Stage Company proudly presents a mix of new and classic theatrical works to delight and captivate young audiences and their families. Dedicated to providing relevant theatre and art education for the young, they strive to create meaningful theatre that resonates with the community and the world.
These shows are designed to give viewers an opportunity to explore their lives through the lens of extraordinary plays and musicals.
The Dreamland Stage Company offers a variety of field trips, touring shows, school day matinees, and other opportunities to bring the joy of performing arts to your students.
Before your visit, you will receive a study guide tailored to each show that provides a range of classroom activities to help your students recognize and relate to the relevant themes of the stage work. They also offer a selection of school day and after-school workshops.
To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience the power of theatre, Dreamland Stage Company Theatre Education offers scholarships.
The Nantucket community has shown incredible support for the drive-in being built at the city’s track and field facility at 7 Nobadeer Farm Road. Through a Go Fund Me campaign in the spring of 2020, over 500 generous donors contributed more than $180,000 to assist with purchasing equipment and constructing the necessary facilities. As a result, the summer season can enjoy some wonderful outdoor leisure activities!
At 8:00 pm, parking opens, and vehicles are welcome to join. However, at 8:30 pm, the gates close, and no cars will be allowed in after that. The movie is screened starting around 8:30 p.m. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance on their website and bring your e-ticket with a QR code to the show. To get the sound, simply tune your car radio to 93.9 FM. Also, feel free to bring snacks, takeout, and soft drinks. Dreamland will also have some limited availability, but no alcohol or pets are allowed.
The speed limit is five mph when you arrive, and Dreamland staff will direct you to a parking space. Once parked, you’re not allowed to move your vehicle. Also, access to the playing fields and seating is prohibited. Make sure to check on how to use your radio with the ignition off, and don’t turn on the car lights unnecessarily. Dreamland staff will be on hand during the movie should you need anything. For more information, visit their website – drive in.
Something more for Dreamland
Volunteering at Dreamland is an awesome way to connect with people who appreciate cinema and the performing arts on Nantucket. They need enthusiastic, outgoing volunteers to help with daily projects, ushering, and other duties. You don’t need to have any experience. As a thank you to volunteers, they offer complimentary tickets to first-run movie screenings. So join them for a great time and lots of fun.
Dreamland Theater is performing arts accessible to everyone, and it is their top priority to guarantee the comfort and safety of their patrons. They have a barrier-free entrance and drop-off area and three dedicated seats with companion seating in the Main Theater. An elevator is also provided for access to the second floor.
The staff at Dreamland is ready to provide patrons with disabilities and communication disorders with the assistance they need. They strive to ensure that all program areas of the theater are accessible and easy to use.
Nantucket Dreamland offers something for everyone – movies, live theater, live shows, special events, community events, concerts, musicals, live comedy, and more. To choose more easily you can view their program on their website.