Three decades ago, Marietta Phinney, a music teacher in Hyde Park’s Readville neighborhood, realized that local children weren’t getting enough exposure to the arts. So in her backyard she created Riverside Theatre Works, named for the running brook beside her house.
Riverside grew quickly, but those early years were hard. One night, Ms. Phinney sat in her kitchen with a cup of tea, wondering how to go on. Then she read the tagline on her Salada tea bag: “Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible.”
Those encouraging words became Ms. Phinney’s slogan, shared with each new generation of Riverside students. Today, Riverside Theatre Works is a mainstay of Hyde Park and the surrounding area, offering quality productions, musical theater training, and community outreach. Riverside alumni have appeared on Broadway, in national tours, and on stages around Boston. Many return to Riverside, their “second home,” to sing, dance, teach, and inspire the next crop of young performers.
A rare community theater with a proscenium stage - and the only live theater venue in Hyde Park - Riverside is located in the historic French’s Opera House in Logan Square. Our 14,000 square foot facility features a 156-seat opera house, a spacious dance studio and rehearsal space, a scene shop, a lounge, and several meeting and rehearsal rooms.
We host several main stage theatrical performances every year, from all-youth productions to family-friendly shows to challenging plays and musicals aimed at adults. We also host recitals, meetings, fundraisers, and community gatherings, making us a key attraction and connector for the entire neighborhood.
Riverside strives to build a diverse community, nurture local talent, and inspire a lifelong love for the performing arts. We take pride in our affordable ticket prices, our broad range of programming for children and adults, and our outreach to local schools and families.
In addition to being a cultural mainstay, Riverside serves as a key economic driver for Hyde Park. Our shows and classes draw families from across the city and suburbs, increasing street traffic along Fairmount Avenue and leading patrons to nearby businesses. Economic studies show that the presence of arts and entertainment increases an urban neighborhood’s desirability and vitality. That’s why the City of Boston, in conjunction with community groups, has a plan to turn Fairmount Avenue into an Avenue of the Arts, with Riverside Theatre Works as its anchor.
Riverside Theatre Works
45 Fairmount Ave.
Hyde Park, MA 02136
Fax: (617) 361-3176
Click here for staff list, photos & bios
Board of Directors
Founding Director: Marietta Phinney
President of the Board:
Kristin Dembowski, ESQ
Vice President of the Board:
Mary Lou Maloney
Secretary: Lucille DiGravio
Scott J. Batey