Bethel to host Maine’s Performing Arts Festival

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BETHEL – Bethel Village in western Maine will come alive during the second week of August when the inaugural Maine Performing Arts Festival brings folklore, fanfare and families together.

Festivities get under way on Wednesday, Aug. 9, and continue through Sunday, Aug. 13, with daily performances kicking off at noon and continuing through 7:30 p.m.

“The festival’s setting in Bethel, Maine’s prettiest mountain village, promises to be as memorable as the entertainment of street players and main stage theater actors. Encircled by dramatic mountain views, the common and Main Street scattered with venues and Gould Academy’s well-appointed Bingham Auditorium will provide a highly artistic environment,” said Harry “Dutch” Dresser in a statement. Dresser is president of the Maine Performing Arts Festival board of directors.

Twice daily during the festival a 10-member troupe of high-energy, professional and aspiring actors will present light, comedic, family-oriented plays. “The Servant of Two Masters,” a classic Italian comedy by Carlo Goldoni, features a frantic, slapstick paced performance. “Telling Tall Tales,” adapted by artistic director Andrew Harris, recounts two folk tales aimed at the young and the young at heart. Both shows will take place in Gould Academy’s Bingham Auditorium and tickets will be available in advance and on site.

“The festival and its light, funny focus will make the arts accessible to everyone,” Harris said. “I’m really enjoying this opportunity to expand the reach of theater to people who might not get the chance to enjoy it otherwise. The goal is to provide a theater experience that will be enjoyed by all walks of life.”

Visitors strolling the village streets will encounter Hat Fair performers including but not limited to mimes, acrobats, musicians, dancers, jugglers and more showcasing their talents. The common will be home to a late afternoon headlining act. Village and common entertainment will be free, but performers will be accepting audience contributions.

Ticket prices for the scheduled evening theater shows are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under. Matinees are $15 for adults and $7 for children.

Additional Maine Performing Arts Festival information including schedules, performer listings and ticket pricing is available at www.mainepaf.org. As a non-profit event, the Maine Performing Arts Festival is being presented by Sunday River. Additional sponsors include the Mahoosuc Arts Council, Sudbury Inn, Gould Academy and the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce.

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