Our Mission:

The mission of the Prescott Park Arts Festival is to provide accessible, multi-generational, high-quality arts performances and educational events to a large and diverse audience.

An overview of the Prescott Park Arts Festival scene in Portsmouth, NH, at sunset during a concert by The Head and the Heart in July, 2013

 

Our History:

Prescott Park Arts Festival (PPAF) is an anchor arts organization in the Seacoast Community of New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. The Festival has a rich history of presenting a 10-week summer season of inspiring, family-friendly arts programming including themed music festivals, concerts, a film series, dance, children’s events, and signature musical theater. Since its inception in 1974, PPAF’s suggested donation model has reduced barriers to high-quality art, and we can proudly say that no one has ever been turned away for the inability to make a donation. A strong economic engine for the region, PPAF’s 150,000+ annual audience members inject $7.5M into the local economy by filling downtown businesses and restaurants before and after performances.

Nestled along the banks of the Piscataqua River in downtown Portsmouth’s Prescott Park, the Festival combines a grassroots, community feel with the allure that accompanies the Grammy Award winning national touring acts that grace the stage. The Festival experience is as unique as each person coming through the gates; some purchase a season pass and attend every film, concert and see the musical again and again, while others make that annual pilgrimage from over an hour away as part of a family tradition that often spans generations. Some come once or twice a week throughout the summer, while others might come for an evening stroll through the park while their kids dance in the lawn to the soundtrack of that evening’s offerings. One thing is universal though, the Festival holds a beloved place in the hearts of all who do come through those gates. 

Thanks to the suggested donation model PPAF runs on, people have the freedom to shape their own experience and truly enjoy so much of what makes this place special: the charm, the uniqueness, and the beauty of its Portsmouth, NH home. We are a small, but mighty arts organization in a town of barely more than 20,000 people. We are proud of the level of talent on our stage and even more so that we do it , all without charging an admission price.

In 2008, PPAF introduced the Family-in-Need (FIN) program to ensure that everyone could have the special experience of coming through the gate, pass in-hand. Through FIN, PPAF donates hundreds of season passes in partnership with  local nonprofits providing direct social services. The passes are distributed  anonymously to those they serve, widening access and creating space for everyone. In 2017, PPAF launched an annual holiday musical production in nearby Exeter, NH, and extended FIN in partnership with the Exeter Children’s Fund to provide over 200+ free tickets to families unable to purchase them.

Families enjoy the 2021 summer musical, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

Festival events include a summer-long musical theater production with 30+ performances, a summer concert series featuring 20-25 well-known national touring acts as well as local and regional talent, and a film series that has become a beloved family tradition.

As for education, PPAF offers the long-standing Camp ENCORE!, a multi-session youth theater camp that was founded in 1998 where kids ages 8-17 gain hands-on experience with theater arts, both onstage and behind the scenes. This program is about getting to know one’s self and building confidence through the love of musical theater. Each session culminates in a fully produced musical on the Festival stage. In the spirit of its mission around accessibility, PPAF routinely provides full and partial tuition scholarships for those in need.

For almost fifty years, PPAF has raised the caliber and profile of its musicals and concerts, to include union equity actors and national touring acts. The Festival will continue to build upon the trust it has established with its audience by extending its track record of featuring less well-known, but immensely talented, artists. Some of the greatest Festival memories brought up by community members are of those less crowded nights, being introduced to a band they had not heard of previously, and being blown away by the talent and the shared community experience. What remains unchanged is PPAF’s deep commitment to accessibility and its pride in being the only venue on the Seacoast where folks can have that type of experience with no required ticket price. 

Let’s Connect: Here’s How

Mailing Address:
Prescott Park Arts Festival
PO Box 4370
Portsmouth, NH 03802
Physical location:
2nd floor of the Shaw Building in Prescott Park, directly behind The Players’ Ring Theater

Box Office Hours
10pm to 4pm, Monday-Friday
603.436.2848
hello@prescottpark.org

Leadership

A view of the Memorial Bridge

Getting Here

Our Kitchen

A family at the park

Social Impact

Theatrical Rentals

Employment

A person dancing in the Park

Gift Cards