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Pontine Theatre

"The Peace of Portsmouth"
An Original Play


Pontine Theatre premiered its original play "The Peace of Portsmouth" to rave reviews on April 22nd and reprised performances for the Centennial celebration. Using period newspaper articles, historical photographs, and turn of the century music and staging techniques, Co-Artistic Directors, Greg Gathers and Marguerite Mathews (NH Artist Laureate 02-06), explore this international diplomatic event from the viewpoint of the local citizens. "The Peace of Portsmouth" provides a glimpse of Portsmouth as it was in the summer of 1905.

The entire text of Pontine's play was drawn from historical sources, particularly research in local newspapers of the day which detailed a chronicle of intimate encounters between local townspeople and the foreign celebrities, including:

  • A tea hosted by Mrs. Helen C. Knight, Portsmouth's oldest resident, which featured the use of genuine Japanese tea which the hostess had received as a gift over 30 years previously.
  • Baron Rosen's embarrassed reaction to the "crowd of camerists," who pursue him day and night to "catch him dishabille."
  • " The Japanese Fete held in York Harbor featuring a jiu jitsu demonstration by Professor Yamashita and a host of local girls, "dressed in Russian peasant garb and dispensing lemonade and other cooling drinks."

The creation and development of this piece was funded by grants from the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation and The NH State Council on the Arts. The premiere run was underwritten by Jefferson-Pilot Financial.

"The Peace of Portsmouth" premiered on April 22, 2005, ran through May 8, 2005 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, then resumed performances on Thursday Aug 11 and Sep 1  and Sunday Aug 14 & 28.

Performances were held at Pontine's West End Studio Theatre, 959 Islington Street, Portsmouth. 


In 2008, Pontine conducted Community Theatre Workshops in performance and stagecraft, using "The Peace of Portsmouth." 

Portsmouth Herald (August 30, 2005) -- Space gives Pontine room to try different formats


Portsmouth Herald (4/28/05) -- History never looked so good

Foster's Daily Democrat (4/21/05) -- Pontine's new work is lovely, worthwhile

Foster's Daily Democrat (4/14/05) -- Pontine brings language of Treaty to life

Foster's Daily Democrat (4/14/05) -- Treaty marked by celebrations, play, bell-ringing

For a month's view Calendar, click here.



© Richard Haynes
Haynes Images

For information about ordering fine art prints of this Treaty Centennial symbol, and other commemorative items, click here.



Twitter.com: @PortsmthTreaty

To learn more about the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire

Mailing address:
82 Court Street
Portsmouth NH 03801

To join the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire online, click here.

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For information about the Russia Society of New Hampshire, write to
PO Box 177
Concord NH 03302-0177

For a Russian-language description of the Treaty exhibit click here.

For the Russian-language Library of Congress description of the Treaty of Portsmouth, click here.


 News and Links

To learn nore, the following books are available:

Heroes & Friends: Behind the Scenes of the Treaty of Portsmouth by Michiko Nakanishi

There Are No Victors Here: A Local Perspective on the Treaty of Portsmouth by Peter E. Randall

Also available:

An Uncommon Commitment to Peace Exhibit Catalogue published by the Japan-America Society of NH

Blessed Are the Peacemakers: The Service of Thanksgiving for the Portsmouth Treaty, September 5, 1905 by Marina Grot Turkevich Naumann

Original 1905 newsreel footage on DVD

Treaty of Portsmouth 1905-2005 book of reproduction historical postcards.

The Portsmouth Peace Process: Guide for Teachers by Northeast Cultural Coop

Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail

For hours, directions, details on the Portsmouth Historical Society museum where the Portsmouth Peace Treaty exhibit is displayed, click here.

For hours, directions, details on Strawbery Banke Museum and the Shapiro House, owned by one of the founders of Temple Israel who figured in the Treaty citizen diplomacy, click here.

For information about Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Building 86 where the formal negotiations were held. click here.

For more information about Wentworth By the Sea Hotel, where both delegations stayed, click here.

For more information about Green Acre Bahai School and Sarah Farmer's commitment to the peace process, click here.

The Portsmouth Public Library maintains an micorfilm archive of local newspapers and an index of the relevant Treaty reporting and other related materials. The archive of original newspapers, photographs and other documents is maintained by the Portsmouth Athenaeum.



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