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Grand ole time

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Grand ole time photo by Lou Schellhase
Bigger, better, funkier

We're flush with cultural treasures so much so that we sometimes can forget what's in our own backyard. But, with their marquis lighting up the Ellsworth skyline in all its historical glory, there's never been a better time to check out The Grand.

'Our mission is to bring enrichment and educational programing to Ellsworth and Eastern Maine,' said The Grand's Arts Education Coordinator Kristie Billings. She noted that sometimes people tend to categorize The Grand as 'just' a movie theatre, or 'just' a live performance venue, when it is that and more. Much more. So much more it's almost insane.

The Eastern Maine Pops Orchestra (TEMPO) for Young Musicians recently made The Grand their home, allowing the group to draw from a larger group of potential musicians and giving them a venue to showcase their talents.

'The Grand is trying to be an arts and culture hub,' said Billings.

And it's a hub with many spokes. The Grand plays host to many different types of culture that appeal to different ages and tastes. The live simulcasts of performances from The Met (The Metropolitan Opera in New York) allows people to experience some of the very finest shows right here in Maine. They also stream live shows from the stages of London.

'We're really trying to build an audience for that,' said Kimberly Fitch, the Box Office manager and program support, as the shows tend to air around 2 p.m. due to the time difference between Maine and London.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Festival is once again having its Film Festival at the Grand with a plethora of offerings, including independent films and a bit of burlesque with the Dirty Dishes Burlesque Review.

'This year we really reflect the LGBT experience story in the community,' said Fitch. 'But we also wanted it to be fun as well.'

The theme of the festival is 'Sharing Stories,' and in addition to the rich selection of films there will be monologues read and panels from people in the LGBT community.

The Great Annual Puppet Festival is also back for a second year with something for the whole family. Many people think puppet shows are for kids and they are, there are some great shows geared specifically for children this year - but there are also some incredible artistic marionettes depicting the myths of ancient Greece.

This wide array of offerings is a way to bring the community in to the theatre and also to create an artistic community in the area.

'The importance of a theatre in the community is that it creates a niche, and creates a way for the community to meet,' said Bernard Hope, development coordinator at The Grand.

'We want people to come and share the experience. It isn't just 75 years it's many more to come,' said Fitch.

Upcomming Events

2012 Manhattan Short Film Festival - Sept. 28 through Oct. 7

The Eastern Maine Pops Orchestra (TEMPO) for Young Musicians - Sept. 29, 7 p.m.
TEMPO Provides a fresh and innovative full orchestral experience for middle school and high school students from eastern and central Maine.

'The Dark Crystal' - Oct. 5 & 6 at 7 p.m.
Whether you're taking a trip down nostalgia lane or seeing this film for the first time, it will be great to see it on the big screen!

The Manipulators from Ottawa, Canada present 'Rovero and Juliet' - Oct. 6, 1 p.m.
You know, like the Shakespearean Tragedy. But with a happy ending. And puppets.

Tanglewood Marionettes from New England present 'Perseus and Medusa" - Oct. 6 at 4 p.m.

Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers present 'The Legend of Banana Kid" - Oct. 7 at 4 p.m.

An Evening with James McMurtry - Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

'Sleepwalk with Me' - Oct. 10-12
An autobiographically-inspired fictional feature debut.

NT Live Presents: 'The Last of the Hausmans" - Oct. 11 at 2 p.m.
A new play by Stephen Beresford.

Sonizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore New production - Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.
Anna Nerebko and Matthew Polenzani star in Bartlett Sher's new production of one of the greatest comic gems in opera, as the fickle Adina and her besotted Nemorino.

Emmaus Homeless Shelter celebrates 20 years - Oct. 14, 2 p.m.

Opening Night (LGBT Film Fest) 'Becoming Chaz' - Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.
The story of how Chaz Bono grew up feeling he was a man trapped in a female body.

'Three" - Oct. 20, 2:30 p.m.
A comedic drama about a couple who separately fall in love with the same man.

'Pariah' - Oct. 20, 7 p.m.
A film about a 17-year-old African American woman who lives with her parents and sister in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood.

The Dirty Dishes Burlesque Revue - Oct. 20, 9 p.m.
What does it mean to be feminist, queer and sexy? Find out by watching the Dirty Dishes Burlesque Revue.

'Weekend' - Oct. 21, 2 p.m.
After a house party, one man heads out to a gay club alone looking for an encounter.

Workshop: Theatre at Monmouth - Oct. 24, 4 p.m.
Part of the Theatre at Monmouth Shakespeare in Maine Communities tour.

Theatre at Monmouth presents 'Hamlet" - Oct. 24, 7 p.m.

Verdi's Otello Live - Oct. 27, 1 p.m.
Verdi's Shakespearean masterpiece returns to the Met with Johan Botha in the title role opposite the acclaimed Desdemona of start soprano, Renee Fleming.

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