chamber of commerce

Center Theatre Inc. to purchase building
Monday, May 06, 2002
Dover-Foxcroft Art Deco structure earmarked to become focus for local arts
By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DOVER-FOXCROFT � Center Theatre Inc., a nonprofit organization working on the creation of a performing arts center for Piscataquis County, has signed a purchase and sale agreement for the Center Theater building.

The price of the building is $105,000.

The building, constructed at Union Square in 1940 and operated as a movie theater until about 1970, still retains a stage and many outstanding Art Deco features. Center Theatre Inc. plans to renovate the theater, a historically and architecturally significant regional landmark, and offer year-round arts and educational programs for children and adults.

Center Theatre Inc. was formed in 1998 by regional residents to create a performing arts center that will provide education, entertainment, and cultural enrichment for the people who visit, live and work in Piscataquis County. The organization already provides a variety of cultural programs, including film festivals, a literary series, a reader�s theater, and an annual children�s theater camp, and works regularly to develop relationships with local, regional, and out-of-state partners in education and the arts.

�Our goal is to bring a rich program of music, theater productions, dance, art, films, and art exhibitions to the region,� Rollin Thurlow, Center Theatre Inc.�s chairman of the board, said Friday. �We want to make it possible for the people of Piscataquis County to participate in a wide range of cultural activities that they value and enjoy without having to travel hours out of their way.�

Thurlow said the performing arts center will provide a major regional venue for the many exciting, emerging local arts groups, such as the community theaters in Milo, Dexter and Greenville, and the Buie School of Music, as well as artists and performers from around the state and the county.

A thorough architectural assessment of the theater, conducted in 2001 by John Gordon Architecture of Bangor, has shown the Center Theater to be structurally sound and worthy of renovation. Cadbury Consultants Ltd. of Rockport conducted a feasibility study that concluded demand for a regional arts center is high, while separately Center Theater Inc. developed a plan for operating the center as a sustainable business.

As the new owner of the theater, Center Theatre Inc. will continue to lease space to the Berry Patch, a favorite regional restaurant and gathering place that is located in the old theater�s original lobby.

Center Theater Inc. plans to start a campaign to raise funds to renovate the theater�s main auditorium as soon as possible after taking ownership. In April, the group was pleased to learn that Maine legislators included $500,000 for the theater�s restoration in a multimillion-dollar general bond package. The public will be asked to vote on the bond issue during the June 11 primary elections.
"This content originally appeared as a copyrighted article in the Monday, May 06, 2002 edition of the Bangor Daily NEWS and is used here with permission."

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