CARTHAGE — After nearly a decade of promoting Celtic music and featuring top performers from Canada, Ireland and Scotland at his Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center, Phill McIntyre is moving on this September.

He posted a message Thursday on the theater‘s Facebook site announcing its closing.

“Well the day has come to announce the sad news: Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center will close its doors with a final farewell show on Sept. 17,” McIntyre wrote.

“This in no way will curtail my involvement with the many venues I have been working with over the years,” he continued in an email news release on the theater’s website. “If anything, it will strengthen my ability to continue providing Celtic and Roots music throughout the New England region.”

McIntyre said he was looking for artists to volunteer for the final show. He will hold a benefit show in February to help with winter bills, he said.

“Help me continue to keep these doors open for the next nine months,” he said. “Thanks for everyone’s kind words and encouragement over the years.”

McIntyre said people interested in helping him get through the year can call him at 207-562-4445 or write to [email protected].

Skye Theatre will keep a full schedule through mid-September. McIntyre said his last scheduled concert will be the final farewell on Wednesday, Sept. 17, a week after the Crossroads Celtic Festival.

He said late Thursday afternoon that he intends to start a new venture this fall, but he didn’t provide any details.

McIntyre said he and his wife, Jan, decided to close their Carthage theater because they cannot continue to shoulder the center financially. They also cannot formulate an endgame for the theater, and so are selling it this fall.

“It’s been very difficult over the last few years to even break even, and I’m past the retirement age, so it’s difficult to continue on without a reasonable plan of continuation,” he said. “It’s difficult to run something of this magnitude as a self-supporting business in this economy.”

McIntyre said he had already found a buyer for the building, which will no longer be used as a theater. The sale will be finalized on or near Oct. 1.

“I can tell you I am very much at peace with the decision and will be putting in all my efforts to make this the best season ever at Skye,” he said.

McIntyre has grown a strong audience base for Celtic music by following through on an idea he had while attending the Celtic Colours International Festival years ago in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, according to a James McCarthy story in the July 8, 2013, edition of MaineBiz.

McIntyre built the 250-seat Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center on a hill in South Carthage between Dixfield and East Dixfield. Many concerts by Celtic performers were held there annually.

Last September, McIntyre launched the five-day Crossroads International Celtic Festival in Oxford and Franklin counties. He serves as the festival’s artistic director and plans to continue to nurture that event and to help it become established as the premier Celtic music festival in Maine.

“The music is the most important thing and it will continue,” he said. “We still have much to do and it is vital that we continue to receive your support over the next nine months. The bills still have to be paid and the show must go on.”

Word of McIntyre’s decision traveled fast. Tim Flight, interim executive director of the 2014 Crossroads Celtic Festival to be held on Sept. 10-14, alerted followers of Crossroads by Twitter on Thursday and on the festival’s website.

“While we will be sad to say goodbye to Skye Theatre, Phill has indicated he has no plans to reduce his efforts with Crossroads as artistic director,” Flight said. “And without managing Skye Theatre on a daily basis he will be able to continue his efforts to bring great music to our region through New England Celtic Arts and Crossroads. In the end, this may even strengthen Crossroads.”

McIntyre said his Skye theater endeavor was so successful that “it’s the talk of the industry.”

“So, I don’t feel like a failure,” he said. “We’re just closing one door and opening another, like a book. We’ve come to the end of a chapter and we have to turn the page.”

He thanked people and performers for their sacrifice and passion.

“You have made this a wonderful place of community and a place for artists to perform. Onward and upward,” he said. “The music will go on, but the bricks and mortar won’t.”

[email protected]


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