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Friday Favorites: Best of Portsmouth’s Arts & Entertainment Venues

Portsmouth’s art and entertainment offerings range from small, intimate shows at the Music Hall Loft to upbeat, high energy shows at 3S Artspace.

Each of the venues below will be showing films all throughout the Film Festival weekend—so don’t worry, you’ll be able to experience them all!

The Music HallDougRidley_NHFF_20141017_IMG_0440

One of the most recognizable facades of Portsmouth, The Music Hall has entertained visitors for over 130 years. Dating back to its inception in 1878, The Music Hall has hosted Shakespearean actors, Edison’s Graphophone, numerous Broadway musicals, and countless theater-filling musical acts from around the globe.

Not only is The Music Hall a hub of entertainment, it is also a charity, completely funded by its wonderful supporters. Those 3,000-plus members, 300 business supporters, and 58 community partners help to contribute over $7 million dollars to the local economy every year.

In addition to the vital role The Music Hall plays in the local economy, they also give back in other ways. They recently filled every seat (and the stage) with food for the local food bank, aptly called Fill The Hall—that equates to 5,000 meals.

Called “the beating cultural heart of New Hampshire’s seacoast” by the Boston Globe, it’s easy to see why this U.S. Senate-named American Treasure lies close to the heart of many.

To learn more about The Music Hall and it’s offerings, head here.

The Music Hall Loft

Located just around the corner from The Music Hall, the Loft offers a much more intimate experience. With a total of 124 seats, patrons can get up close and personal with acts and speakers of all kinds.

Recently awarded the “best performing arts venue” by Yankee Magazine as well as a design excellence award by the NH AIA, the Loft is a must-visit venue.

Learn more about the Loft here!

Moffatt-Ladd House

The Moffat-Ladd House, otherwise known as the William Whipple House, is a Portsmouth treasure. Overlooking the harbor, the 1763 Georgian house was home to William Whipple, a signer of the Declaration of Independence as well as a Revolutionary War general. According to a family legend, William Whipple brought back horse chestnut seeds from Philadelphia after sighing the Declaration of Independence, and planted them in the front yard in celebration. The tree is still standing to this day, over 230 years later.

The home had three owners—the Moffats, the Whipples, and the Ladds—until it was donated to the National Society of Colonial Dames in 1911. You can read more about the history of the property here.

3S Artspace

Initially founded in 2009, 3S Artspace serves as a performance space, noncommercial art gallery (with artist studios above), and delicious restaurant (we recently talked about Block Six here).

The space is dedicated to hosting and supporting local emerging arts and entertainment. As 3S puts it,

“We believe our values define us, and we value culture. Culture is a catalyst. It grows an economy. It fuels potential.”

In addition to Block Six, the art gallery features six to eight self-curated exhibitions that feature artists known around the world, as well as emerging artists within our own community.

The performance space is home to a wide range of performances—films, music, theater, festivals, and more. It recently hosted TEDx03801, an individually organized TED event that focuses on the discussion of big ideas and challenges within our community. In fact, NHFF’s very own Nicole Galovski was a host for that event.

Learn more about all that 3S has to offer here.

Discover Portsmouth Center

The Discover Portsmouth Center, which is operated by the Portsmouth Historical Society, serves as the hub of all Portsmouth activity, history, and education. First established in 1920 as one of Portsmouth’s first museums, the staff has been dedicated to increasing the understanding and enthusiasm for the town for nearly a decade.

Throughout the year, they hold many types of events—including various exhibitions, John Paul Jones events, Black Heritage Events, and many more. In addition to their exhibitions, they offer guided walking tours of the city, an Academy Gallery, and various rental options for your meetings, workshops, or lectures.

When it comes to telling Portsmouth stories, the Discover Center has is covered. You can learn more about the center here.

These performance spaces are some of the best in Portsmouth. You’ll be able to visit all three throughout the entire Film Festival weekend—speaking of, have you seen the festival schedule yet?