MSHPA mission is to preserve the historic
buildings and cultural heritage of Monterey, California so that all may
experience the special place through interpretation, education and special
The Big Idea
Monterey State Historic Park Association
(MSHPA) preserves the historic buildings and cultural heritage of Monterey so
that all may experience the special place through education and special
events programs. They’ve been working on restoring California’s First Theater
with a goal to hire professional vendors so that the theater can be opened
for live performances on a regular basis, along with offering refreshments,
including menu items that would’ve been offered historically. In keeping with
MSHPA’s funding of children’s programs, they will extend their efforts to
engage children in performances and education that dovetails with their
current educational funding initiatives.
The First Theater is a California
landmark, and it is important that the building be accessible to the public.
The theater truly comes alive when plays are performed that drew enthusiastic
audiences in the 19th and 20th centuries. Who wouldn’t like to go back, say,
to Ed Ricketts’ marine biological laboratory on Cannery Row and sit and chat
with Ricketts and John Steinbeck and the other prominent artistic and
scientific figures of the time? That’s impossible, but it wouldn’t be
impossible to return to the entertainment—the plays—that stirred audiences in
the First Theater’s bygone days.
- Steve Hauk