In 1969, a group of graduate students in the University of Hawaii Theatre Department founded Hawaii Performing Arts Company (HPAC). Their desire was to create Hawaii’s first professional resident adult theatre organization. It was envisioned that this organization would nurture Hawaii’s theatre artists while concurrently providing live, stage entertainment for community audiences.
In its first decade, while building an audience for its plays, the young company grew quickly and soon institutionalized with business development of its board of directors and the hiring of professional staff. Its second decade saw significant expansion in its stage production capabilities, opportunities for community artists, a successful $1M capital campaign that resulted in the erection of MVT’s current 150-seat performance and administrative facility, and adoption of the d.b.a. “Manoa Valley Theatre.” Its third decade saw increased artistic diversity within the annual season lineup, four guest residencies with national award winning playwrights, and expansion of its community outreach program for schools, senior citizens, and social service agency clients. MVT’s fourth decades further crystallized its commitment to stimulate audiences and artists through play production choices that were consistently contemporary, enlightening, entertaining, and provocative by the acclamation of patrons, press, and practitioners. Most plays are presented by MVT in their Hawaii debut.
As “Honolulu’s Off-Broadway Playhouse”, MVT entered the 21st Century with a clear vision of artistry and community service that enhances Hawaii’s cultural community, entertains its residents, and develops its artists. From its humble beginnings in 1969, and aided by tremendous community support, Manoa Valley Theatre has over its forty-three years transformed into a semi-professional theatre that is both dynamic and exciting. Choosing mainstream contemporary plays and musicals from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and major regional theatres, MVT’s annual season is a showcase of great theatre productions that features Hawaii talent entertaining Hawaii audiences.