Island Spotlight: Joe Hale of the Dreamland Theater

This week we speak with Dreamland’s Executive Director, Joe Hale about Nantucket’s film and Cultural Center, Dreamland. Dreamland is truly an island treasure that brings so much joy to our community year round. This state-of-the-art complex features a 314 seat Main Theater along with flexible meeting and theater space in the Studio Theater and a beautiful Harborview Room. Dreamland also hosts films during the annual Nantucket Film Festival.

Can You Give Us a Brief History of Dreamland Theater?

Joe Hale: The Dreamland’s building goes back to 1831, when it served as a Quaker Meeting House. Since then, it’s functioned as a straw-hat factory, a Redman’s Hall, a roller-skating rink, and finally in 1910, a silent movie house. The Dreamland closed in 2006 when it was purchased for redevelopment. Luckily, that plan was unsuccessful, and a generous group of donors purchased the building and land and began a major renovation to give us the state-of-the-art cultural center we all enjoy today. It reopened to the public in 2012.

What are Some of Your Favorite Events that Have Happened at Dreamland?

Joe Hale: There are too many to count! The Dreamland is the only Nantucket cultural organization open 365 days a year. In addition to first run and award winning independent and foreign films daily, we’ve created scores of other events. We produce Dreamland Conversations hosted by board member David Gregory that has featured such luminaries as Leslie Stahl, John Kerry, Joe Biden and Maureen Orth. We’ve organized programs ranging from our annual community talent show – Nantucket’s Got Talent! to Our Summer Decks DJ Series to outstanding performances by talent such as The Vienna Boys Choir and Broadway star Audra McDonald. But my FAVORITE event at The Dreamland has to be our annual DreamBeliever Celebration, our annual fundraiser. A seasoned veteran of fundraisers around the world said “The DreamBelievers Celebration is the best party – ever!” I agree!

Is The Dreamland the Only Public Theater on the Island and What was the First Movie to Ever Show at the Theater?

Joe Hale: The Dreamland is the only public movie theater on Nantucket. Here’s an advertisement (see above) from the Inky Mirror about some of the earliest films at The Dreamland. It’s from 1910!

Can You Tell Us About the New Drive-In theater you are Launching this Summer?

Joe Hale: We are SO excited about The Dreamland Drive-In! Think about it – this could possibly be the only place on island this summer where we can gather together, albeit apart! We should have The Dreamland Drive-In up and running around the end of June. With only 80 spots, this entertainment option will be a sell-out for sure. And hopefully this summer we’ll also be able to open The Dreamland downtown in a safe and responsible way. We’re also exploring converting our spectacularly beautiful Harborview Room, overlooking the harbor, into the Harborview Lounge, with sundown cocktails being offered each evening.

Can You Tell Us a Fun or Interesting Fact/Story that Comes Out of Dreamland?

Joe Hale: I know we’re supposed to be cool and unimpressed on Nantucket, but when you occasionally see Michael Douglas or Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro or Damien Lewis or Drew Barrymore or Gina Davis, or Bill Belichick in the lobby buying popcorn, I must admit, it IS kinda cool………..

Okay, We Must Ask, What Are Your Top Three Favorite Movies?!

Empire of the Sun

A Trip to Bountiful

and the next movie I’m going to watch!

Thanks, Joe! We are really looking forward to the Drive-In theater and for more information on this new project please visit HERE

Joe Hale
A crowd of people in front of Dreamland
Saturday night at the Dreamland

The Nantucket on Instagram

Want to experience a warm and cozy Nantucket winter? Tuck under a blanket and gather around one of our cozy fire pits with a steaming cup of cocoa and an endless supply of s’mores. 📸 @kristynewengland ...

“…a summer paradise in the snow”
- @cntraveler

Tap the link in our bio to read Condé Nast Traveler’s feature on Nantucket in the off season.

#ack #nantucket #nantucketing
...

Be right back, just daydreaming up a fairytale Nantucket wedding 💭 It’s never too early to start planning 😉 ...

It’s cold up here in New England, but the sun is warm and the breezes are balmy down at @lovangoresort, our new sister resort in the US Virgin Islands. Tap the link in our bio and tune into Lovango’s new webcam for some tropical vibes from wherever you are. ...

Don’t let that ‘new year, new you’ attitude slip back into your old habits! Tap the link in our bio to learn about winter memberships at The Nantucket Club and start working towards your goals with one of our award winning trainers.

#ack #nantucketing #nantucket
...

Start your 2022 chapter with our dear friend @Elinhilderbrand for the annual Elin Hilderbrand Bucket-List Weekend! An event that has quickly turned into a tradition for fans and anyone else longing for an intimate Nantucket experience. Enjoy everything from book signings, wine and cheese parties to gourmet dinners and walks on the beach. Click the link in our bio for more information and even join the waitlist for 2023! ...

Thank you to those who spent 2021 with us! We look forward to seeing our old friends and meeting new ones in 2022 🍾 ...

Give the gift of a getaway this holiday season by getting your loved one a gift card to The Nantucket! You’re next adventure is just around the corner. 🎁 ...

Santa is coming to brunch this Sunday, December 19th! Join us for this holiday tradition at The Nantucket. Call us today to make a reservation, 508-228-4747.

#ack #nantucketing #nantucket
...

Looking for the perfect last minute gift? Little Gem Resorts gift cards are an easy way to create memorable moments and unforgettable experiences. From Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to St. John in the US Virgin Islands, each resort is as unique as the place they call home. Tap the link in our bio to learn more. ...

We’ve got a few last minute reservations available today at @breezenantucket. Bundle by our fire pits (first come, first serve) or call ahead to check availability in our dining room. Happy strolling!

📸: @kristynewengland // @lifeonphillipslane // @mindybriar

#ack #nantucket #nantucketing
...

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas Stroll!

📸: @nantucket30milesatsea

#ack #nantucketing #nantucket
...

Always looking forward to welcoming guests taking advantage of our Howliday Pup Special. Tap the link in our bio to learn what’s included!

📸: @kristynewengland

#ack #nantucketing #nantucket
...

We love a good old-fashioned Nantucket Halloween. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to join in the fun.

#ack #nantucketing #nantucket
...

Keep in shape this winter at The Nantucket Club. Now accepting new members for our 2021-2022 winter season. Tap the link in our bio for more information about our full service fitness amenities, browse class schedules, and learn more about membership options at the island's only downtown fitness club.

#ack #nantucket #nantucketing
...

Looking forward to nights with a chill in the air and a toasting marshmallow over the firepit.

📸: @touchofgrayblog

#ack #nantuketing #nantucket
...

Falling in love with autumn on #ACK. Share your #nantucketing photos with us during this 🍂🍁 season.

📸: @touchofgrayblog
...

How you do know it's October on Nantucket? The pumpkins start cascading down our front porch!

📸: @palmbeachlately

#nantucket #ack #nantucketing
...

Big news! Did you hear that our sister resort is now accepting reservations for its new accommodations? @lovangoresort reopens for its second season with expanded amenities and experiences, including luxury Treehouse, Glamping, and Villa accommodations. Tap the link in our bio to learn more and follow @lovangoresort for all the latest from the #USVI

#ack #nantucketing #nantucket #virginislands #lovango #isvirginislands #stjohn #stthomas
...

Sailing into the weekend…

📸: @nantucket30milesatsea

#Nantucket #Nantucketing #ACK
...

Stay in Touch!

We're closed for the season. Looking forward to welcoming you back on March 4th, 2021! Sign up for our newsletter to keep in touch year-round.