DIXFIELD — Forget about “The Hunger Games” or the slew of superhero movies being released this fall.

A century-old opera house that has been closed for years will be scene of Silent Film Night from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7. It will be hosted by a small group of Dirigo High School students to benefit the Dixfield Historical Society.

The Old Tuscan Opera House on Main Street was a popular location in the River Valley decades ago.

The students are a part of a history course, titled “A River Valley Civilization,” led by teacher Kurt Rowley. They will be dressed in clothing reminiscent of the silent film era and will be volunteering as ushers, vendors of refreshments and ticket agents.

Rowley said he and his students were brainstorming ways to give back to the community and the local historical societies and came up with the idea for a silent film night after visiting the Opera House.

“We did a tour of the Opera House and were intrigued by the idea of putting on a film night,” Rowley said. “The kids have been involved with this thing from the beginning, whether it’s looking up information, cleaning up the Opera House, setting up chairs or selling tickets. Some of the students even helped with sewing the fabric of the movie screen.


“I think some nervousness is starting to kick in,” Rowley said, “but they’ve been pushing really hard to get this done.”

The Silent Film Night will consist of two short films, followed by the full-length 1928 film “Steamboat Bill Jr.,” featuring Buster Keaton. The music for the films will be provided by Jeff Rapsis, a pianist from Manchester, N.H., who plays music for silent films.

Rowley also lauded Dixfield resident and building owner Nancy Carpenter for arranging the event.

“None of this would’ve been possible without Nancy’s help,” Rowley said. “She’s been generous enough to let us use the heat and the electricity in the building and she’s helped to set up the Opera House for the silent film night.”

Rowley said that there are still some tickets on sale. The tickets are $10 each, with all proceeds going to the Dixfield Historical Society.

Tickets may be purchased in advance by contacting either Rowley at 381-0089 or Rylee L’Italian at 357-3935.


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