The first season of arts programming at The Freeman Stage at Bayside (2008) began with 28 performances, all free to the public, serving more than 14,000 attendees. From that small start, The Freeman Stage has grown to presenting 50 performances each summer with annual attendance reaching more than 40,000. All art genres full symphonic orchestras, pop and rock bands, country singers, jazz musicians, ballet and modern dance, opera, and theater are represented in the season’s programming.
The Freeman Stage features regular appearances by established Delaware arts groups such as First State Ballet Theatre, OperaDelaware and Clear Space Theatre Company, as well as internationally-acclaimed guest artists. The Saturday morning children’s series runs for 12 weeks throughout the summer with programs including puppetry, children’s theater, dance, music, storytelling, painting lessons, juggling, and more. During the year, the Foundation also presents more than 20 performances for Sussex County school children at Delaware Technical Community College and area schools, all at no charge.
The Foundation has earned numerous grants and awards, including the 2013 Southern Delaware Tourism Award and Delaware Today’s “2012 Best Bandstand in Delaware” award.