Arielle Ebacher performs tight-wire as theater meets circus in Celebration Barn’s drive-thru production, “Just Outside the Window.” Submitted photo by Michael Menes/Celebration Barn

An anonymous Maine Community Foundation donor has provided $200,000 in general support grants to 20 community theaters across Maine to help sustain them during the pandemic shutdown.

“In addition to its emergency response to COVID-19, the Maine Community Foundation and its donors are working to build resiliency in Maine communities,” said MaineCF President and CEO Steve Rowe. “In this case, an anonymous donor has chosen to shine a spotlight on smaller community theaters and how they are a critical part of a community’s identity and creative spirit. We are grateful for the donor’s generosity and vision.”

Among the grant recipients, Bagaduce Theater in Brooksville canceled its summer season of four plays and let go its administrative staff and company of actors who were to begin rehearsals in May. The theater’s property with large fields provided space to build an outdoor stage to accommodate social distancing of actors and audiences alike. This summer they held a series of staged readings that followed safety protocols.

Likewise, Celebration Barn in South Paris canceled its existing summer programming due to COVID-19. The theater was able to maintain two part-time staff members and design new summer programming, including outdoor on-site performances, online performance training, and circus arts theater classes for children. The theater will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022.

Wintergreen Arts Center in Presque Isle discontinued its creative preschool and afterschool arts programming and replaced it with free online arts education programming as a resource for families. This fall they are offering some performing arts classes. The center has seven paid positions and is moving to a new space at the Aroostook Centre Mall, which will include a theater area.

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

Maine theaters awarded grants: Bagaduce Theatre, Brooksville; Belfast Maskers; Celebration Barn Theater, South Paris; Center Theatre Inc., Dover-Foxcroft; City Theatre, Biddeford; Deertrees Theatre Limited, Harrison; Denmark Arts Center; Eastport Arts Center; The Grand Auditorium, Ellsworth; LA Public Theatre, Lewiston; Lakewood Theatre, Madison; Lincoln Theater, Damariscotta; New Surry Repertory Theatre and Acting School, Blue Hill; Opera House Arts, Stonington; Rangeley Friends of the Performing Arts; Saco River Theater, Bar Mills; Schoodic Arts for All, Winter Harbor; The Theater at Monmouth; Waterville Creates!; and Wintergreen Arts Center, Presque Isle.

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