Smart Growth & Regional Collaboration
Medfield State Hospital Creative Placemaking Project
"The Medfield Anthology" will be performed on Zoom on June 4, 5, and 11. Learn more below.
MAPC is providing technical assistance to the Town of Medfield to facilitate the activation of the Medfield State Hospital campus with placemaking activities that will set the course for future creative uses at the site. MAPC is working collaboratively with the Town of Medfield, the Cultural Alliance of Medfield, and an advisory committee composed of local residents and artists from Medfield and surrounding towns to plan a series of events starting on June 23, 2019 and continuing through May 2021.
The sprawling 661,000 square foot site of the former Medfield State Hospital sits on a hilltop overlooking the banks of the Charles River and boasts 39 historic buildings that are organized according to a Cottage Plan campus-style layout. Acquired by the Town of Medfield in 2014, the site is a unique and exciting terrain for creative reuse and renovation. The strategy will involve activating the church—which is slated to become the centerpiece of a future performing arts center—as well as the porches that grace the other buildings throughout the campus.
The MAPC Arts and Culture Department is providing cultural planning and creative placemaking consulting services to develop and execute a series of events that can become a proof-of-concept to show that the site can generate a regional audience for artistic activities. MAPC is also providing an assessment of the current activities so that new initiatives may complement those that are already occurring on the site.
The Medfield Anthology
"The Medfield Anthology" is a site-informed, immersive walking play written and choreographed by MAPC Artist-in-Residence Hortense Gerardo as part of the creative placemaking project. The play is based on archival research and original interviews with people affiliated with the former Medfield State Hospital. Creating the program provided the space for Gerardo to combine her skills as an ethnographer, dancer, and playwright, and experiment with a socially-engaged process.
"The Medfield Anthology" portrays the Medfield State Hospital in its many facets - not only a place where patients went for psychiatric care, but also where community members attended an annual Harvest Ball, young lovers went to movie screenings in the chapel, and youngsters competed in Little League games.
"The Medfield Anthology" was first performed as a staged reading in October 2019. A full-length performance was planned for May 2020, but cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The cast and crew of "The Medfield Anthology" are excited to present the play in an exciting new online format. Featuring a new scene about the 1918 flu pandemic and a movement piece adapted for viewing on computer screens, the latest version of this play takes on surprising relevance—as does the history of the site itself.
Three performances are planned:
- Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. Followed by a Q&A with the playwright Hortense Gerardo and cast about the production of "The Medfield Anthology"
- Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m. Followed by a Q&A with playwright Hortense Gerardo and MSH groundskeeper John Thomson about the history of the Medfield State Hospital
- Thursday, June 11 at 7 p.m. Followed by a Q&A with Medfield Town Planner Sarah Raposa and Cultural Alliance of Medfield Director Jean Mineo about future plans for the chapel and the rest of the MSH campus
At MAPC, civic participation is the backbone of planning. That’s why our Medfield Creative Placemaking project centers community engagement and activation at the core of efforts to build public education and make meaning out of the town-owned site of the former Medfield State Hospital. MAPC is providing technical assistance to the Town of Medfield to […]
On October 12, over 100 visitors to the Medfield State Hospital (MSH) got a glimpse of its past. The entire campus acted as a stage for the Medfield Anthology, a performance written by Hortense Gerardo through her Artist Residency at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The Medfield Anthology is a site-informed walking play based on […]
The sprawling 134 acre site of the former Medfield State Hospital sits on a hilltop overlooking the banks of the Charles River and boasts over 35 historic buildings. Acquired by the Town of Medfield in 2014, the site is a unique and exciting terrain for creative reuse and renovation. Now, MAPC is working with the […]
In the News
June 2, 2020: Inquirer.net - "Fil-Am's site-specific play to stream for free"
May 13, 2020: Medfield TV - "[Video] Drive-by PorchFest"
May 5, 2020: Wicked Local Medfield - "Cultural Alliance Sponsors Porchfest"
July 5, 2019: Wicked Local Medfield - "Collecting Medfield State Hospital Stories"
June 14, 2019: Wicked Local Medfield - "Placemaking Evets Set For Medfield State Hospital"
June 5, 2019: Medfield Patch - "Father's Day Weekend - June 15: Dad's Brass Band from 2 - 4 p.m."