The Milbridge Theatre - Rebuilding A Downeast Icon
The story of the Milbridge Theatre is a love story of sorts; and a story of the stoic perseverance of a small village in Downeast Maine.
In 1937, a piece of land was purchased for $400 to build the original theatre. Throughout the years, the theatre continued to be an important part of the town’s identity, according to Dave Parsons; the owner who operated the theatre from 1978 until his death in 2014.
In 2017, the building was deemed unsalvageable and was removed. Gateway Milbridge was formed to assist with a downtown economic and cultural revitalization plan. They built and operate a successful outdoor stage (Milbridge Outdoor Theatre) which offers performances free of charge, while the modern, full-service theatre and community art center project began.
The new theatre goal, according to Richard Bondurant, Gateway Milbridge’s Chairperson is “for the theatre and performing arts center to be a flexible gathering space for the community that can host a variety of events including music, theatre, movies, and educational programs on a year-round basis for everyone in the area to enjoy.”
It is an ambitious goal; Milbridge is a village. With only 1,300 residents, it isn’t a metropolitan city with deep pockets (it’s not even large enough to be called a town.) What Milbridge does have, is a deep appreciation for the Arts, and a strong sense of community. Area residents relied on the theatre for entertainment and gathering because the long-distance made traveling to a more populated area prohibitive.
The solid Maine tenacity and exceptional marketing efforts by Gateway Milbridge have helped push the project forward to where it stands today; Officially stage 6. Wondering what that means? Check out the site: Gateway Milbridge and the Facebook page for video and regular updates. It’s going to be amazing!
Amy Jeanroy ME Milbridge May 17, 2021 Music
Location: Milbridge, ME
Amy Jeanroy May 17, 2021
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