PORTLAND & ELLSWORTH — An anonymous Maine Community Foundation donor has provided $200,000 in general support grants to 20 community theaters across Maine to help sustain them during the pandemic shutdown.
“In addition to its emergency response to COVID-19, the Maine Community Foundation and its donors are working to build resiliency in Maine communities,” said MaineCF President and CEO Steve Rowe. “In this case, an anonymous donor has chosen to shine a spotlight on smaller community theaters and how they are a critical part of a community’s identity and creative spirit. We are grateful for the donor’s generosity and vision.”
Among the grant recipients, Bagaduce Theater in Brooksville canceled its summer season of four plays and let go its administrative staff and company of actors who were to begin rehearsals in May. The theater’s property with large fields provided space to build an outdoor stage to accommodate social distancing of actors and audiences alike. This summer they held a series of staged readings that followed safety protocols.
Likewise, Celebration Barn in South Paris canceled its existing summer programming due to COVID-19. The theater was able to maintain two part-time staff members and design new summer programming, including outdoor on-site performances, online performance training, and circus arts theater classes for children. The theater will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022.
Wintergreen Arts Center in Presque Isle discontinued its creative preschool and afterschool arts programming and replaced it with free online arts education programming as a resource for families. This fall they will be offering some performing arts classes. The center has seven paid positions and is moving to a new space at the Aroostook Centre Mall, which will include a theater area.
Maine theaters awarded grants:
Bagaduce Theatre, Brooksville
Celebration Barn Theater, South Paris
Center Theatre, Inc., Dover-Foxcroft
City Theatre, Biddeford
Deertrees Theatre Limited, Harrison
Denmark Arts Center
Eastport Arts Center
The Grand Auditorium, Ellsworth
LA Public Theatre, Lewiston
Lakewood Theatre, Madison
Lincoln Theater, Damariscotta
New Surry Repertory Theatre and Acting School, Blue Hill
Opera House Arts, Stonington
Rangeley Friends of the Performing Arts
Saco River Theater, Bar Mills
Schoodic Arts for All, Winter Harbor
The Theater at Monmouth
Wintergreen Arts Center, Presque Isle
Headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft and Mars Hill, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to provide strong investments, personalized service, local expertise, and strategic giving to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.mainecf.org.