Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

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Maine Theater Fund

November 27, 2020

Awards $76,000 in Grants

PORTLAND & ELLSWORTH—The Maine Theater Fund of the Maine Community Foundation has awarded 17 grants that total $76,829 to support professional and community theaters in the production and presentation of live theater.

Grace and Jenny of Bana Mboka lead the audience in Congolese dance during a 2019 performance at Mayo Street Arts. Photo Vanessa Marcoux, MSA

GRANT RECIPIENTS

  • Everyman Repertory TheatreRockport, to present the 2021 season of plays that celebrate the arts in Maine and the state’s history
  • Friends of St. Lawrence ChurchPortland, to supplement operating funds for maintenance of the Parish Hall Theater
  • Mayo Street ArtsPortland, to renovate the box office and concessions area to ADA standards
  • Acadia Repertory TheatreSomesville, to replace the theatre’s 40-year-old lighting system: $3,000
  • Arts & Cultural Alliance of Freeport, for the purchase of a sound system for Meetinghouse Arts:  $5,000
  • Chocolate Church Arts CenterBath, to replace ticketing and donation system: $5,000
  • Community Little TheaterAuburn, for the theatrical rights and expenses for the production of AR Gurney’s Love Letters: $4,000
  • Crowbait ClubPortland, for “King of Crows IX,” the yearly production of the winners of the monthly Theatre Deathmatch for 10-minute plays: $2,000
  • Dramatic Repertory CompanyPortland, to fund the 2020-2021 season, including two Maine premier productions: $5,000
  • Everyman Repertory TheatreRockport, to present the 2021 season of plays that celebrate the arts in Maine and the state’s history: $5,000
  • Friends of St. Lawrence ChurchPortland, to supplement operating funds for maintenance of the Parish Hall Theater: $3,000
  • Marsh River TheaterBrooks, for new lights: $5,000
  • Mayo Street ArtsPortland, to renovate the box office and concessions area to ADA standards: $5,000
  • Midcoast Actors StudioBelfast, to provide quality year-round theatre opportunities in the new performance space at the former Waldo County Courthouse    $5,000
  • Ogunquit Playhouse Foundation, to help offset the costs of COVID-19 personal protective equipment and safety upgrades for the 2021 season re-opening: $5,000
  • Portland Lyric Theater, to install an air purification system to improve indoor air quality, preparing for safe opening: $5,000
  • Saco River Theatre, to complete construction of staff/performer restrooms in the basement of the building           : $5,000
  • Terra Moto Inc.South Portland, to produce MAINEUSA: The History of Maine from the Ice Age till Now in July 2021 at Portland Players Theater followed by statewide performances: $5,000
  • Theater at Monmouth, to produce TopDog/UnderDog by Suzan Lori Parks as part of TAM’s (R)evolutionary Season Redux: $5,000
  • Waldo Theatre Inc., to purchase and install essential flame-retardant stage masking curtains and the required stage rigging: $4,829

An anonymous couple who recognized the connection between vibrant communities and support for the arts established the Maine Theater Fund in 2005 to strengthen and sustain theater performance throughout the state. 

Awards are typically between $2,500 and $5,000. The next deadline for applications is September 15, 2021. Guidelines, application and a list of recent grants are available at www.mainecf.org. The 2020 grants are also listed below.

If you have questions please contact Carl Little, Communications Manager, Maine Community Foundation.

Headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft, Rockport, 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.

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Morse High School Theater

November 25, 2020

On the lawn performance

Our Town was performed by Morse High School students in October outside on the school lawn. Kevin O’Leary teaches drama teacher, 9th grade English and is responsible for the drama program at Morse High School.

Kevin explained the situation for performing this fall.

We had five platforms, distanced 14 feet apart (think of the black dots on dice). When an actor was on the platform, he/she/they removed the mask. When the actors were on the periphery, they kept their mask on. In a word, all masks stayed on until the actors stepped onto the platform. No actor was ever closer than 14 feet from platform to platform. We allowed only 25 audience members per show. All audience members (4 or 5 per side of the squared acting area) were masked and were at least 14 feet away from the unmasked actor on the platform. It’s a good thing we did the show prior to the new guidelines. We would not be able to do this now. Here’s to better days ahead.

I couldn’t agree more with Kevin – better days ahead! If you have questions for Kevin please email him at koleary@rsu1.org

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Support the Theatre

November 20, 2020

I LOVE this and hope you will also love this! Filmed London’s West End the song is from The Greatest Showman and is reminding us that the theatre community needs our support.

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Freeport High School Theatre

November 3, 2020

Antigone Now

At the end of October Freeport High School theatre program created something pretty special! Everyone felt the success and benefits from students and staff to administration and the community.

I met Natalie Safely about 3 years ago when she and dancer Nancy Salmon worked together after receiving a dance grant from the Maine Arts Commission. Natalie is the theatre teacher at Freeport High School. I had a chance to chat with Nancy last week and she mentioned the work that Natalie did this fall. I was impressed!

At our first meeting in the spring of 2019 I visited Freeport High School to learn more about the dance residency and the teaching and learning underway. I immediately noticed Natalie was an outstanding collaborator! This fall Natalie worked with Nate Menifield, Zoe Konstantino, and Ben Potvin and Freeport students and in five weeks they put together and performed the play Antigone Now. It is a GREAT example of the amazing work that takes place when we collaborate and focus on the pathway and possibilities! Looking at the file of photos taken by parent Ingrid van Duivenbode illustrates the magic of the performance. It was performed outside practicing appropriate pandemic safety abiding by the CDC guidelines.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

Antigone Now, by Melissa Cooper was performed by Freeport High School’s Theatre Arts program on October 23, 24, 25. Nancy Salmon was fortunate to attend and she said: “My husband and I saw the 2nd night of Antigone Now at Freeport High School, tucked into a U-shaped alcove outdoors. We were SO impressed by and proud of the students (on “stage” and tech), the directing staff and the administration who made this COVID-safe, live performance of quality, resonating theater a welcome relief from Zoom.

They had to keep the cast and crew under 50 in order to be able to rehearse indoors.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

I am grateful to Natalie that she took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.

How did you come up with the idea to perform outside?

When schools closed last March, we were working on two different productions. As the days became weeks, and the weeks became months, we soon realized that our stage, like thousands of others, would remain dark. We didn’t know when we would be able to perform again. During a socially distanced walk with a friend, I was explaining how we couldn’t do a musical, how we can’t dance, and on and on. She said, “Natalie, why don’t you do a play with masks?” I was too close to the situation. I was focused on all of the things we couldn’t do instead of focusing on the things we could do! Sometimes, we get in our own way. When we are able to look outside ourselves: other perspectives, other options, other interpretations, the impossible becomes possible. With perseverance and flexibility we were able to create a live piece of theatre that six months ago seemed impossible.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

What did it involve taking the performance out of doors?

In two words: Ben Potvin…It was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. The first challenge was agreeing where on campus we could put up a set that had access to power, where cars would not drive by and where we would not be competing with sporting events and practices. When we finally agreed on a location, then came the logistics of building a moveable set. Once we got into tech week the lighting and sound had to be set up and taken down each night. We set up the soundboard in a classroom that acted like a booth where the stage manager called the cues, sound board op and spot operator ran their cues from there, however we had to set the light board up in a different location because we couldn’t keep social distancing with four students in the area we were using as a booth.  The sound was our biggest challenge. There were so many outdoor factors that came into play: airplanes flying over, sound from the traffic on I-95, masks and mic placement, sound signals cutting in and out for a variety of reasons. When I approached my principal, I said, “No problem, we can do it outside!” It took a knowledgeable tech director (Ben Potvin) to work through a lot of logistical challenges.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

How did you keep the students safe while practicing, creating set, and performing?

Everyone had to use hand sanitizer before entering the space and throughout rehearsal. Longer rehearsals everyone was reminded to take a moment to wash their hands. Masks were worn by all inside and out.To keep the actors safe during rehearsal we put tape marks on the floor indicating 6 feet distancing, no actors shared props–we did have one prop that needed to be brought on by one actor and then used by another–as a cast we figured out that he could wear rubber gloves to bring it on stage. The actors did not wear makeup, they executed their own hair design, put on their own microphones and did not have any costume changes. During tech calls, all tools were sanitized before and after each use. Techs wore masks when working inside and outside as well as maintaining social distancing.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

Tell a bit about the support and from who to make it happen

Our principal, Jen Gulko, is incredibly supportive of our program. After explaining to her how we would adhere to all guidelines she approved our pursuit of producing a fall play. 

We have an amazing artistic team: Ben Potvin (Technical Director), Nate Menifield (Music Director) and Zoe Konstantio ( Choreographer) and myself as Director and Producer.  These positions were in place for the fall musical, however we quickly transitioned our roles to put on a play in 5 weeks.  It took each member of the team to make this happen! Nate focused on the text analysis and vocal performance, Zoe and I focused on staging and movement, and Ben focused on the tech. With each one of us able to focus on one area, the students were more focused and remained on task.

I hope that this blog post provides you with inspiration to figure out how you also can perform with your students. I’ve included the Press Release below so you can get the full impact and hopefully take away some ideas that you can adapt for your own work this year.

Antigone Now, FALL PLAY, PRESS RELEASE

A battle for honor takes place in Freeport High School’s upcoming production of Antigone Now, a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone, written by Melissa Cooper.

Contact: Natalie Safley, 207-865-4706 ext. 801, safleyn@rsu5.org

October 12, 2019

Freeport, ME– “Theatre artists have been wearing masks since 400BC, so why can’t we?”  said Natalie Safley, Theatre Arts Director at Freeport High School, when discussing their upcoming fall play performance. When schools shut down last March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of theaters also went dark, cancelling shows across the country. Once Safley learned that RSU 5 was going to return to school this fall under a hybrid plan (where students attend in person part of the time), she immediately reached out to FHS Principal, Jen Gulko, to discuss doing a fall production.  Maine CDC guidelines prevent musical performances at this time, and currently limit outdoor gatherings to 100. Safley and Gulko determined that a small-cast fall play – produced outside and in accordance with all current safety guidelines – could take place. Safley rushed to choose a script, gather her artistic team, and conduct auditions.  Of the experience, she notes, “Putting together a show in 5 weeks instead of 10 is an unbelievable undertaking, but FHS accepted the challenge!”  

Playscripts, Inc. describes this adaptation as a “…contemporary response to the myth of Antigone…” Antigone (played by FHS junior, Ella Vertenten) strives to bury her brother, Polyneices, with honor, defying a decree from the king (who also happens to be her uncle) that, “No one may bury him, no one may touch him. It’s against the law.” Drama ensues as the characters fight to preserve the laws of the city while keeping the family intact.  

All performances will be held outdoors, Friday-Sunday, October 23-25, at 7PM, adjacent to the entrance to the Joan Benoit Samuelson Stadium (30 Holbrook St., Freeport, Maine). Tickets must be purchased in advance; no tickets will be sold at the door. All patrons must wear a mask, practice social distancing, and should bring a blanket or chair to sit on. 

Purchase tickets to live performances here:http://bit.ly/FHSAntigone

Direction: Natalie Safley, Nate Menifield, Zoe Konstantino

Technical Direction: Ben Potvin

* Patrons must bring their own chair or blanket to sit on

*Masks and Social Distancing in place 

Contact Natalie Safley, safleyn@rsu5.org

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Helpless

October 23, 2020

Hamilton

Hamilton is a story about hope, revolution, and love. The original cast of Hamilton singing “Helpless” will have you moving and smiling. How might you incorporate this into your curriculum this year? Let me count the ways!

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Virtual Theatre Game Night

October 21, 2020

Maine high school students are invited to participate in a virtual theater game night. The Maine Thespians officers will lead participants in an interactive workshop at no cost. Mark your calendars and join teens from across the state – Sunday, October 25, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. This event is provided by the Maine Educational Theater Association.

For more information CLICK HERE! To register CLICK HERE!

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Summer Learning Opportunities

June 10, 2020

For young students

Opportunities for the summer are filling my inbox each day. Below are a few to share with your students who might be asking.

DANCE

  • Creative Dance Virtual classes for 4-10 year olds start Tuesday, June 30. Thirty minute classes are being provided each week for six weeks by the amazing dance educator Elly Lovin. Each week Elly will start with a different theme and make dances around that theme. Elly also offers Dance at Home Kits with dance props and ideas for using them. She will ship them directly to your home. LEARN MORE – Elly Lovin at www.ellylovin.com/dancing-in-place

THEATER

  • Virtual camps, blended outside & at home camps, and half day outside camps. Options for rising K-12. Financial aid available for these programs. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!
    FREE RESOURCES include: Facebook live-streaming of Play Me a Story Dramatic Readings, Tutorial Videos, Games to Play at Home, Follow-Along Videos, and other Interactive Activities. These resources are designed to get your bodies and creativity moving, all from the comfort of your own home! 

    Each resource is accompanied by an age recommendation for ease of access, but you know your students & kids best.

    Contact Portland Stage Education Administrator Julianne Shea if you have any questions.
  • Check out the online summer camps from Unwritten Roads! Learn filmmaking from home! Engaging acting and filmmaking camps available for two separate weeks. July 20th – July 24th for  Grades 1 -4 and July 27th- July 31st for Grade 5 and Up! Visit unwritten roads.com or find them on facebook or instagram @ unwritten roads! Please be sure and reach out with any questions. Included is a link:  link from our website with our summer offerings.

MUSIC

  • Fiddle Camp will take place online this summer. I included the information on it – you can find at the bottom of this blog post.
  • Midcoast Music Academy, Rockland
    • Lessons will be offered in packages of one to eight lessons.
    • Once you purchase the number of lessons you want, you can add yourself to your instructor’s calendar on www.mymusicstaff.com. (If you are a new student, you will be sent the login information.) We are also happy to help with this!
    • You can schedule your lessons for any available time on the calendar, with 48 hours’ notice. You can also reschedule a lesson (with 24 hours’ notice) if your plans change.
    • Lessons can be purchased online at www.midcoastmusicacademy.com/summer-2020 or by contacting our Operations Manager Maddy at (207)701-7410 or info@midcoastmusicacademy.com.

    Lesson packages can be purchased in the following amounts:
    Single Lessons (normal cost)
    60 mins = $64
    45 mins = $48
    30 mins = $32

    Packages:
    4 Lessons (10% Discount)
    60 mins = $230.40
    45 mins = $172.80
    30 mins = $115.20

    6 Lessons (15% discount)
    60 mins = $326.40
    45 mins = $244.80
    30 min = $163.20

    8 Lessons (20% discount)
    60 mins = $409.60
    45 mins = $307.20
    30 mins = $204.80

    TUITION ASSISTANCE NOTE: If you are receiving or would like to apply for tuition assistance, these discounts would not apply. In that case, please contact Operations Manager Maddy Silletti to purchase summer lessons.

VISUAL ART

  • Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland

Zoom ArtCamp – for ages 8-13

In order to keep our community safe, we will be offering two summer camps through zoom. Working closely with a teaching artist, campers will turn creative ideas into tangible original artwork right at home. Each week campers will be provided with an art kit filled with materials and tool needed for artmaking, which can be picked up the previous week. In addition, campers and families will be encouraged to visit the CMCA during the week (w/free admission) to take a closer look at our galleries.
For more information contact Mia Bogyo, Education Coordinator at mbogyo@cmcanow.org

CLICK HERE TO LEARN  MORE!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

  • Youth art classes with Erin McGee 
    • Ages 6-14 – Eight Lesson Self-study ECourse for Youth Art

Artist, Erin McGee Ferrell, offers Art Classes from her Painting Studio.

Fun Art History as EMcGee becomes Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe and others. CLICK HERE

  • Summer Online Art Lessons (June-August 2020) Ages 6-14

Virtually Join EMcGee as she paints around Maine, Kentucky, and New Hampshire.

Students around the world step outside into yards, onto porches, or by windows as the interactive class learns drawing and painting techniques.

With students participating from around the world, it will be fun to compare differences in buildings and nature.

  • Oil Painting Online for Teens. Landscape and Architecture (June-August 2020)Erin McGee Ferrell leads teens in an interactive online oil painting class.Classes will be streamed from woods, beaches, and cities.With students participating from around the world, it will be fun to compare differences in buildings and nature.CLICK HERE.  https://www.facebook.com/EMcGeeArtLessons/

 

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Virtual Exhibits and Performances

June 1, 2020

Sanford, South Berwick, Camden Hills, Fiddle Camp

Schools and arts education programs throughout the state are finding ways to share student work virtually this spring. Last week I shared Sebago Elementary School Virtual Arts Festival. Below are some of the virtual exhibits and performances and a virtual opportunity to learn during the summer. If you have a link to share, please send them to me at meartsed@gmail.com. You and your students have amazing accomplishments that others would like to learn about!

SANFORD

Six years ago I posted about the first Sanford Fallen Soldiers Project honoring WWII veterans. The project has continued over the years and because of COVID this year it had to take place virtually. The TV production lab at the high school/vocational center. Thanks to Sarah Schnell, who runs the station, WSSR-TV, who made the VIRTUAL CEREMONY possible. Thank you to music teacher Carol Baker-Roux who is retiring this year, for sending it for the blog.

 

CENTRAL SCHOOL, South Berwick

Central School celebrated their third graders with a Variety Show. The students could essentially share anything they wanted. Over 60 second and third-grade students and teachers were on the zoom call watching their videos. Kate Smith said: “It was absolutely precious to see the performers’ faces as they watched the reactions of their classmates”. You can watch the 22 performances in these GOOGLE SLIDES. Thank you Kate Smith for sharing!

CAMDEN HILLS REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

Work by Svea Delevett. (Photo courtesy Camden Hills Regional High School)

On Thursday, June 4 all three art disciplines – music, art and drama will be represented at the Virtual Fine Arts Night for Camden Hills Regional High School. The link will be available at 5 p.m. on Thursday when the event goes live.

The visual arts department will be providing a virtual gallery tour of this year’s outstanding student artwork. The online showcase includes 2D work in drawing, painting, photography, visual journaling, printmaking, and 3D work from Big Art, Metals, and Clay classes.

The theatre department will be showcasing the work of actors and “techies” in curricular theater classes. The work of students in extra-curricular courses will also be presented including a Zoom performance of Arsenic and Old Lace.

Students in vocal music have been working on Virtual Fine Arts night songs, by learning and performing songs in their homes. Those songs have been shared with classmates on local platforms where students listened to each other’s performances and gave comments.

Students in instrumental music have been working on several “virtual” videos in which students have worked individually with a “guide track” to be presented as one ensemble. The Concert and Jazz Bands will also be joined by selections presented by the CHRHS Brass Ensemble.

MAINE FIDDLE CAMP

Virtual Maine Fiddle Camp will be held June 19-21, and your V-MFC team has been hard at work. The weekend is REALLY coming together. I’ve been told that it’s going to be TEN times the program of any other virtual fiddle camp at, well let’s just say a REALLY reasonable price! REGISTRATION IS OPEN!!!

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Maine Youth Playwriting Challenge

April 8, 2020

Open to all up to age 18 – 10 days!!

“I just wanted to send along a resounding THANK YOU for your thoughtful and uplifting comments. Elias’s face just lit up as we made our way through them (and frankly, so did mine! 🙂 I am treasuring this experience co-writing with Elias. As sad as this sounds, although we both love storytelling, our lives are so busy, we’ve never slowed down to do it together.” 

-From Elisha Emerson, Elias’s mother

Elias has completed the challenge

In the Maine Youth Playwriting Challenge, Museum & Theatre educators turn playwriting into a ten step process, and guide participants through online challenges and direct mentorship. The playwriting challenge is designed to create a community of playwrights, promote the positive self-identity, and inspire the next generation of creative professionals. Playwriting original works develop self-esteem and communication skills in young people. By building a sense of accomplishment through artistic collaboration, the Maine Youth Playwriting Challenge will be a chance for young playwrights to imagine their work on stage and see themselves as writers and creative contributors to the community.

We’ve completed a 10 facebook challenge, but beginning April 6th, our playwriting challenge is moving to Instagram! The 10 Day Playwriting Challenge is moving over to a new social media platform: instagram, in order to reach a new audience. Playwrights can sign up on our website at www.kitetails.org/theatre for direct mentorship and to participate in readings, or follow along on instagram by following @childrensmuseum_theatreofmaine.

MAINE YOUTH PLAYWRITING CHALLENGE 

Many theaters have a ritual at the end of the night. They leave a ghost light on, which is a single, incandescent bulb that lights a path for anyone working late. There’s superstition around this ritual– some say it’s to keep theatre ghosts happy. We think it’s a symbol of hope. That even if a theatre is empty, even if it’s one night, the theater itself is never dark. The Children’s Theatre of Maine has been continually performing plays for a young audience since 1922. We are the oldest continuously running children’s theatre in the country! That’s 98 years of plays for young audiences. While schools are not in session, and while theatres are dark, now is the time for artists to hunker down and turn on the ghost light while we write our stories. Join the Maine Youth Playwriting Challenge.

The Maine Youth Playwriting Challenge at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine empowers families to:

  • Write stories
  • Document our world and the time we’re living in
  • Join in community
  • Celebrate the imagination of Maine Youth

The Maine Youth Playwriting Challenge is an online challenge for young playwrights in Maine, to challenge and support each to write a play during this unique time of social distancing. These plays may take many forms, from realistic family dramas to utter absurdity.  This challenge will take place while school is not in session and challenge young playwrights to write short plays, focusing on: setting, character, structure and more!

If you are interested in participating, SIGN UP by completing the form to receive prompts and guidance from our theater staff.

GUIDELINES

  • Anyone can participate, so long as you live in Maine and you are under 18.
  • Plays can be team written (you can co-write a play with a friend through google docs, or even minecraft!)
  • Playwrights are welcome to work closely with adult mentors if they’d like. (i.e. you can co-write a play with your dad! Or your entire family!)

If you have any questions please contact Reba Askari at reba@kitetails.org. Reba is the Director of Theatre & Education at Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.

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Show Tunes

March 14, 2020

Sutton sing-a-long

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