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About Penobscot Theatre Company
Penobscot Theatre Company was incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 1983, but it developed out of Acadia Repertory Theatre, founded a decade earlier. Acadia Rep presented 97 productions in Bangor before moving to Mount Desert Island, where it has continued to operate seasonally as a separate entity, while Penobscot Theatre Company has grown steadily in the scope of its operations and impact on the community. In the 1990s and early aughts, the company began operating with paid professionals and attendance climbed. The theatre’s activity broadened to include the annual Maine Shakespeare Festival, which performed on the banks of the Penobscot River for seven summers. In 1997, the company acquired the Bangor Opera House, which now serves as its base of operations. The Opera House is not only the last remaining performance art venue in downtown Bangor, but also one of the last remaining Egyptian art deco-style theatres in the U.S. First designed as a 1,500-seat theatre, it now seats 334, with the original balcony used for administrative office space, storage and rehearsal. The theatre boasts a dramatic plaster proscenium arch; a stage of 40'x 20' x 26' dimensions, to which a thrust is of...ten added for additional space; and a functioning hemp fly system. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Scott Levy, from 2005 to 2011, the company toured productions across Maine, created the Northern Writes New Play Festival, and restored the Opera House’s façade. Upon Levy’s departure, the Board instituted a dual leadership structure, and hired a managing director (subsequently titled “executive director”) and Bari Newport as artistic director. During her nine-year tenure, Newport spearheaded artistic, facility, audience and financial growth. The company added performances and special productions that helped drive annual attendance to 40,000; annual revenue increased to $1.8 million; and its signature Dramatic Academy grew to include robust educational programming for all ages year-round. Between 2015 and 2017, the company increased its assets with the purchases of a scene and costume shop facility and a house for visiting artists; and investments in a new HVAC system, LED theatrical lighting, and seating at the Opera House. In early 2020, an endowment fund seeded in 2012 achieved full funding with a $1 million donation, further strengthening the long-term future of the company. In March 2020, the Opera House closed its doors to ensure the safety of staff, artists and audience members; and the company set to work producing a fully digital season for 2020-2021. “Digitus Theatrum” featured unique collaborations with diverse artists in Maine and beyond. In 2021, Newport left the company and Production Manager Tricia A. Hobbs was hired as acting artistic director to work in partnership with Executive Director Jen Shepard. Penobscot Theatre Company employs 20 people year-round and in a typical season hires 100+ professional artists from the Bangor region and beyond. The company is in the final stage of transitioning onto a Small Professional Theatre contract with Actors' Equity Association. Penobscot Theatre Company is now celebrating its 48th season. More information can be found at https://www.penobscottheatre.org.
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