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Pendragon's History

For over 40 years, Pendragon Theatre has been the backbone of Saranac Lake’s theatre scene—the only year-round, professional theatre company in the Adirondacks.

​When Manhattanites Susan Neal and Bob Pettee arrived here in 1980 with the goal of bringing world-class theatre to a village in the mountains, they had a plan to stage three performances of A Streetcar Named Desire, with a single actor lined up and a $500 budget.

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​From that bare-bones beginning in a second-floor space, a true community pillar has emerged. In the ensuing years, Pendragon has become a reliable source of captivating, envelope-pushing cultural experiences that enrich and engage our entire community. Five-time Tony Award-winning actress Julie Harris has graced our stage and a Pendragon production won top honors at the International Fringe Festival. Today, we stage five summer shows, a touring production and other performances around the year, attracting outstanding professional talent.

​But we’re not just a theatre in the community; we’re a theatre for the community. Our innovative slate of educational programs includes the Arts in Education Tour, which exposes hundreds of North Country students to live theatre every year; our Young Playwrights Festival, which pairs Pendragon professionals with budding writers; and our Summer Theatre Camp, Camp Pendragon, which provides students in grades 7-12 an introduction to production and professional theatre.

For over forty years, we have served the community, and now it is time to grow into a new home.

How We Got Our Name 

Once upon a time, in the spring of 1981, Pendragon, as yet unnamed, was coalescing its second production – Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas. The fledgling group began to think that a name, an identity, would be good. A host of names was offered up. One person, drawn to the idea of the British Isles because of that current production, fell upon Pendragon. Why? Uther Pendragon was the father of Arthur, King of England. Pendragon means chief leader of the British tribes. While not in England, we still hope to provide the lead or impetus towards excellence in theatre arts.


Every year, Pendragon Theatre files a Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. This form includes financial data and important information about our mission, governance, management, and programs. A Form 990 is a public document, and Pendragon complies with this policy by publishing our 990s on our website and on GuideStar to ensure that our community has easy access to this information. 

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