It’s almost unfair. The North Shore is famous as a destination for beaches and boating and the freshest possible seafood. It is known as a place to wander cobblestone streets and browse quaint downtown shops. And evidence of the country’s deepest history can be found around every corner.
So it almost doesn’t seem right that the region also gets to be home to such a varied assortment of music, art, dance, and theatre. From dance performances that get you in on the action to opportunities to see new theatre productions, the North Shore offers cultural events to suit any taste.
It may not be fair, but it sure is enjoyable.
Met Opera, National Theatre, and Bolshoi Ballet Live at the Shalin Liu Performance Center
You needn’t travel to New York City, London, or Moscow to enjoy world-class performances. Just make a quick drive to Rockport, where the Shalin Liu broadcasts performances from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, England’s National Theatre, and Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet. This year’s slate includes performances ranging from a classic Wagner opera to a tango-infused ballet.
37 Main St., Rockport, 978-546-7391, rockportmusic.org
Pictured above: Met Opera
Pictured above: Bolshoi Ballet Live a the Shalin Liu Performance Center
Weekly Figure Sketch Group at the Rockport Art Association
Sketching the human form is a longtime staple of artistic training and practice. Area artists can explore this tradition at the Rockport Art Association’s figure sketch group. Every Friday afternoon, live models pose in changing positions throughout a three-hour session.
12 Main St., Rockport, 978-546-6604, rockportartassn.org
Senior Readers’ Theater at the Firehouse Center for the Art
Experience the joys of participating in a theatre performance with minimal stress. Designed for aspiring actors who are 55 or older, Senior Readers’ Theater offers eight weeks of collaborative instruction in exploring dialogue, using voice and gesture, and developing a character, all while seated comfortably with script in hand. The session culminates with an opportunity for a public performance. Past groups have taken on the work of David Mamet and staged an event celebrating the works of women playwrights.
Market Square, Newburyport, 978-462-7336, firehouse.org
Dance Classes at North Shore Music Theatre
You might have enjoyed watching performances at the North Shore Music Theatre. Why not take to the stage yourself? The theatre’s education department offers reasonably priced eight-week courses in tap, jazz, ballet, and improv, open to adults at all levels of ability and experience. Students yearning to explore more aspects of performance can enroll in Musical Theatre Techniques, a multidisciplinary course that includes choreography, acting, and singing.
62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, 978-232-7200, nsmt.org
Immersive Dance Events at MAGMA
The name MAGMA stands for Movement Arts Gloucester Massachusetts, and the studio lives up to its name with a diverse lineup of dance classes and regular performances that often blur the line between spectator and performer. The past year has seen a winter solstice celebration featuring traditional folk song and dance, a night of Scottish poetry and dancing in honor of poet Robert Burns, and an evening of Afro-Caribbean dance that included both performances and instruction.
11 Pleasant St., Gloucester, 978-381-3494, magma.center
Your Favorite Musicians at The Cabot
That American Idol winner you’ve always loved? He’ll be there. The country star you’ve been listening to since her debut at age 14? She’ll be there. The classic rocker who anchored two of the 60s’ and 70s’ most famous bands? Him too. The Cabot offers an alternative to the blockbuster concert tour, allowing you to watch past and present favorites perform in an intimate and elegant setting. Many of the shows also offer VIP packages that include commemorative gifts, premium seats, and a chance to meet the artist.
286 Cabot St., Beverly, 978-927-3100, thecabot.org
Pictured: Maceo Parker will perform at the Cabot
Art Galleries at Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts at Endicott College
Nestled into their scenic oceanfront campus, Endicott College’s Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts plays hosts to a rotating roster of exhibits and performances by students, faculty, and emerging and established artists. On display in the coming months will be ceramic sculpture, paintings that explore the light, color, and emotion of New England seasons, and a juried exhibition of works by Beverly artists.
406 Hale St., Beverly, 978-232-2655, endicott.edu
Performances at Black Box Theater
Opened just a year ago as a project of social services agency Northeast Arc, the North Shore’s newest theatre is a venue with a mission: to provide jobs for the community, education for area youth, and business opportunities for local artists. And for the rest of us, the Peabody theatre offers a chance to enjoy an eclectic mix of music, drama, and culture. Recent events have included Drag Queen Bingo (a sold-out evening), staged play readings, improv comedy troupes, and jazz and rock concerts.
22 Foster St., Peabody, ne-arc.org
Professional Theatre at the Gloucester Stage Company
Tucked away in an unassuming brick building in a mostly residential neighborhood, the Gloucester Stage Company has put on acclaimed professional theatre productions for 40 years. The company’s guiding principle is to present works that are intellectually stimulating and socially relevant. The 2019 lineup includes old favorites like Hamlet and Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, as well as newer works that grapple with race, history, and the American dream. And in addition to full stage productions, every year the theatre presents perhaps a dozen events as part of the NeverDark series: staged readings of new plays, lectures, and comedy events.
267 East Main St., Gloucester, 978-281-4433, gloucesterstage.com
Pictured: Past professional performance at Gloucester Stage, True West by Sam Shepard.
Second Sunday Chowder Lectures at The Pickering House
If you like your local history with a side of chowder, head to Salem for the monthly Second Sunday Chowder Lectures at the historic Pickering House. Local historians give talks on subjects including the events leading to the American Revolution, abolition societies on the North Shore in the 19th century, and the role of the U.S. National Archives in nurturing our love of history. The series also gives you an excuse to take in the art, artifacts, and architecture of this 300-year-old house.
18 Broad St., Salem, 978-744-4777, pickeringhouse.org
Writers’ nights and book club, Salem Athenaeum
Bibliophiles and aspiring writers will want to check out the offerings at Salem’s 200-year-old independent cultural center and library, an institution that can claim Nathaniel Hawthorne among its historical members. Once a month, the Athenaeum’s book club meets to discuss classic novels, recent bestsellers, and modern favorites. Writers looking for quiet companionship in a peaceful setting can settle in for the weekly writers’ open studio on Tuesday mornings. And twice a month, writers looking for feedback can join the writers’ group to share works in progress.
337 Essex St., Salem, 978-744-2540, salemathenaeum.net
Poetry Salons at the Abbot Public Library
This charming brick library in the heart of Marblehead is home to all the expected functions of a public library. But once a month it also becomes the site of poetic exploration. The library hosts a monthly Saturday afternoon Poetry Salon, at which a local poet reflects on the influence of other writers on his or her work.