Admin

BANGOR – One of the region’s most steadfast and beloved cultural institutions is gearing up to get back onstage.

Penobscot Theatre Company is on the verge of getting back to live, in-person theatre. The company announced their upcoming season with a virtual town hall event last month, but now that we’re approaching that first opening night, it seemed appropriate to do a full-on season preview.

While PTC did a wonderful job of finding ways to pivot into the digital realm last season, crafting a thoughtful and high-quality season in “Digitus Theatrum” that found ways to maneuver around the multitude of obstacles raised by the circumstances of the pandemic, there’s no question that they – and theatre lovers in Bangor and beyond – are eager to take their seats at the Bangor Opera House and be transported by the special magic of live performance.

This new season marks the company’s 48th, if you can believe it. For nearly half a century, Penobscot Theatre Company has been a cultural cornerstone for the region, the northeasternmost professional theatre company in the United States. It is a foundational piece of our area’s creative fabric, one of the many incredible organizations that bring the arts to life in this place that we call home.

There’s a lot of great stuff coming. From a beloved holiday classic to a Maine playwright’s premiere, from a pair of one-woman shows to a romantic two-hander to a big, bold musical, PTC has put together a collection of offerings that will feature something for just about every theatregoer out there.

And there have been changes in the organization as well, the biggest being the ascension of Tricia A. Hobbs, longtime PTC staff member, to the position of Acting Artistic Director of the company following the departure of previous Artistic Director Bari Newport earlier this year. Hobbs has worn numerous hats during her time at PTC – she has worked as a scenic designer and director, as well as serving as production manager and technical director. Her hands-on experience with so many facets of the theatrical experience make her a worthy choice to steer the ship during this turbulent time.

Now, this is a much later kickoff to the season than we usually see from PTC, with the first show opening in mid-November rather than early September. Rather than rush the process, the team opted to take careful steps as they moved forward, taking into account still-shifting situations. That said, these folks are definitely ready to get back to it.

So what should people expect? I spoke to Hobbs and PTC Executive Director Jen Shepard about what the upcoming season will hold – both in terms of what audiences will see and how they will experience it.

Published in Cover Story

Ah, summer – we’ve missed you. And after many months, something else that we’ve missed – the theatre – is making a triumphant return.

For those who love live theatre, there are loads of options. Companies near and far are bringing exciting work to stages all over the region; no matter where you might be, there’s a good chance that you’ve got some excellent theatre happening nearby. There’s a lot of variety out there just waiting to be experienced.

We’ve been waiting a while for this, thanks to the circumstances of the pandemic. Summer stages were largely dark last year. And not every company is quite ready to mark their return. But numerous groups are bringing their talents back over the coming weeks, giving those of us who love the theatre a chance to experience that love once again. If you choose to see a show, be sure to familiarize yourself with the company’s individual protocols – different groups will have different policies in place. Some will be outdoors, others will be inside, but all will be bringing live theatre back.

I know you’ve missed it. I’ve missed it too. So let’s all take the time to get out there and see something. One thing is for certain – there are plenty of options. Here’s a look at just some of what’s to come.

Published in Cover Story
Monday, 24 May 2021 15:31

Bari Newport bids goodbye to Bangor

BANGOR – One of the Bangor area’s artistic stalwarts is saying goodbye.

Bari Newport, longtime artistic director of Penobscot Theatre Company, is moving on after nine seasons at the PTC helm. She will be continuing her artistic journey at GableStage in Miami, Florida, assuming the mantle of producing artistic director at the company.

Over the course of her tenure at PTC, Newport has been at the forefront of the steady growth of the region’s creative culture. The company has long been a foundational piece of the artistic fabric of the area; under her stewardship, the already outsized presence of the company continued to grow.

The company has thrived under her leadership. She was a major part of the ongoing effort to renovate the interior of the Bangor Opera House, updating the space in ways beneficial to both comfort and aesthetics. It was also on her watch that the company purchased and renovated the former firehouse that would become the combination scene/costume shop known colloquially as “the Theatre Factory.”

And of course, there’s the work itself.

Putting together a cohesive season for a regional theatre is no small task, but Newport has assembled some excellent ones during her time here. Finding the balance between artistic challenge and aesthetic spectacle, she was able to build seasons that provided broad appeal for audiences and broad opportunities for actors both near and far.

(In the interest of full disclosure, this is probably where we should note that the writer of this piece has a longstanding relationship with Penobscot Theatre Company and with Bari Newport. I could sit here and tell you that I’m going to remain unbiased, but that would be a lie. PTC is an important place to me and Bari is my friend; this story will reflect both of those truths.)

Published in Cover Story

ORONO – There’s something inherently fun about outdoor theatre. I’m not sure I can put my finger on it; it’s more a combination of things. The sun, the fresh air - it just feels like a nice mix with theatre in general and Shakespeare in particular, at least to me. Watching people tell you a story while the sun sets is a heck of a way to spend an evening.

Now, our current circumstances have made it a bit more difficult. Take the University of Maine School of Performing Arts, for instance. Their plan was to present an outdoor production of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy “Twelfth Night, Or What You Will” in the Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden on the UMaine campus in Orono. Unfortunately, the ever-changing pandemic dynamics meant that they could not perform for audiences.

Well … not LIVE audiences, anyway.

See, rather than let the situation defeat them, they went ahead and did the show anyway. They’re theatre kids, folks – you’re not going to stop them.

And so, the University of Maine School of Performing Arts is presenting their filmed version of “Twelfth Night” for streaming through May 9. Directed by Julie Arnold Lisnet, the show is available through the UMaine SPA website – just visit www.umaine.edu/spa/tickets and you’ll be on your way. Tickets are $12 for the general public and just $3 for UMaine students.

Published in Style

BANGOR – A hilarious whodunit is coming your way courtesy of Penobscot Theatre Company!

PTC continues their innovative and industrious response to the current circumstances with their presentation of “Who Killed Zolan Mize?” The latest entry in the theatre’s ongoing Digitus Theatrum mainstage season, it’s an interactive murder mystery that will be livestreaming beginning on March 11 and running through April 3. To purchase a link or to find more information, visit the PTC website at wwws.penobscottheatre.org or call the box office at 942-3333.

The show is the brainchild of Rachel and Brendan Powers, a married pair of Florida-based actors who are likely familiar to area audiences; both have graced the Bangor Opera House stage in recent years – Rachel in the theatre’s 2018 production of Lindsey Ferrentino’s “Ugly Lies the Bone” and Brendan in both Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” (2014) and Tracy Letts’s “August: Osage County” (2015).

“Who Killed Zolan Mize?” lets audiences engage in the fun as they watch a pair of detectives question six quirky suspects. Viewers are invited to share ideas and observations with their fellow detectives along the way in the “Clues Journal,” as well as joining into a series of in-home scavenger hunts. Once all the evidence is in, audience members share their thoughts on the case with the detectives and a vote is held. The suspect with the most votes wins (or loses, I suppose, depending on your perspective).

Following each performance will be a post-show talkback. This is a chance for audiences to ask Rachel and Brendan any questions they may have, both about the show and about the pair’s own experiences in the theatre and screen acting industries.

(A personal note: having worked with both Rachel and Brendan on shows in the past, I can vouch for the fact that they are not only talented and tremendously knowledgeable, but also among the kindest, most genuine folks you’re ever likely to find. If you see the show, stick around – you’ll enjoy what they have to say, whatever that winds up being.)

Published in Cover Story

BANGOR - A little rocket science keeps theatre alive. 

Penobscot Theatre Company continues to innovate to fulfill its artistic mission in the face of the pandemic. “Flyin’ Solo,” the latest offering in the company’s “Digitus Theatrum” 47th season, combines original works and technical know-how to make possible a live-to-your-home production.  

Published in Style

BANGOR – A local theatre company is bringing thrills and chills to the stage this coming weekend.

Some Theatre Company will present their production of “The Woman in Black,” adapted by Stephen Mallatrat to the stage from Susan Hill’s 1983 novel of the same name. Directed by STC’s Elaine Bard, the show will run from October 29 through November 1 at the theatre’s Bangor Mall performance space. For tickets or more information, visit www.stcmaine.org or check out the Some Theatre Company Facebook page.

It’s a psychological thriller of sorts – a scary show that is just perfect for the Halloween season – the story of a young solicitor who gets far more than he bargained for when he investigates a client’s estate following her passing.

Offering in-person performance is difficult in these trying times. However, Bard and the rest of the Some Theatre Company crew have gone to great lengths to ensure that their audiences have not just a good time, but a safe one – they’re all about making the experience the right kind of scary.

To that end, Bard was kind enough to answer some questions about the upcoming production via email. She shared the STC process and protocols and talked about why they chose this show and their feelings regarding the importance of live performance, even in difficult times.

Published in Buzz

BANGOR – Penobscot Theatre’s latest production is something quite different, a phantasmagoric feast … for the ears.

The first production as part of Digitus Theatrum, PTC’s all-digital season, is “Ghost Postcards from Maine,” an original audio experience featuring five new tales of terror from Maine writers and brought to life by some of your PTC favorites. The streaming show is available through November 8 and is available at www.penobscottheatre.org or by contacting their box office at 942-3333.

The theatre commissioned five writers – Travis Baker, Sam Collier, Carrie Jones, Michael Kimball and Robin Clifford Wood – to create new stories inspired by some of Maine’s ghostly legends. These stories run the thematic and stylistic gamut, each lending a unique perspective on some of our state’s scariest stories. Some will likely be familiar, while others will be new to you, but regardless, the end product here is an audio experience unlike anything you’ve ever heard, a ghoulishly good time for this Halloween season.

Published in Buzz

BANGOR – Adapt. Adapt. Adapt.

That’s what so many performing arts organizations have had to do over the past few months. The pandemic has completely upended the model, leaving thousands of people scrambling to figure out how to go forward in this new landscape.

And that’s what Penobscot Theatre has done: Adapt.

PTC has officially announced their 47th season. Titled “Digitus Theatrum,” the 2020-21 slate was shared with the public by Producing Artistic Director Bari Newport via a virtual town hall event held Aug. 17. It is the most unique schedule in the history of the company, a collection of online offerings that are unlike anything many theatregoers have ever seen.

From a haunted audio adventure to a holiday puppet extravaganza, from a homegrown collection of solo works to an avant-garde theatrical adventure, Digitus Theatrum isn’t the theatre to which we are accustomed. It is something different, a collection of ideas that is somehow both pragmatic and ambitious.

PTC will be offering a variety of subscriptions and a wealth of programming for audiences of all ages over the course of the season, with their mainstage bill of fare enhanced by a variety of new and different kinds of creative entertainment. For information about ticket and subscription options, contact the PTC box office at 942-3333 or visit the theatre’s website at www.penobscottheatre.org.

Published in Cover Story

BANGOR - Penobscot Theatre Company has announced its 47th season, an assortment of plays and musicals professionally produced and staged at the company’s historic home.

After the unexpected curtailment of the current season, Penobscot Theatre Company looks forward more than ever to lighting-up the marquee and welcoming patrons to the historic Bangor Opera House for the 2020-21 Season. Performances are set to begin just after Labor Day and extend into early July. 

“We have great confidence in the future of Penobscot Theatre Company and we’re eager to share an extraordinary line-up,” said Producing Artistic Director Bari Newport. “By subscribing, you’re committing to Penobscot Theatre Company - to our institution, to the artists you’ve grown to love and to the value of theatre in our community. Of course, the health and safety of our artists and audience are our highest priority, and we’ll remain closely attuned to public health guidelines in the coming months.  Improvisation is at the heart of our craft and if we must adjust our plans, we will; but at this time, based on all the information at our disposal, we’re proceeding cautiously but optimistically.” 

Published in Buzz
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next > End >>
Page 1 of 8

Advertisements

The Maine Edge. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Terms & Conditions.

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine