Penobscot Theatre Company Announces Postponement Of 2019-2020 Season
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Penobscot Theatre Company has made the difficult decision to postpone the remainder of their 46th season. During this unprecedented shutdown, they will begin an organizational restructuring in preparation for their 47th season. Producing Artistic Director Bari Newport said, "It's been several weeks of very rapid and tough decision-making, but we remain laser-focused on the well-being of our theatre family, the community, and the success of the company."
In a move that was planned prior to the closure, Executive Director Kathryn Ravenscraft will be transitioning out of her role. Ravenscraft originally joined PTC as Director of Development in March of 2019. Ravenscraft shared, "My heart remains with the mission and the people of the organization and I will do everything I can to ease this transition." In the interim, the theatre will revert back to a single-executive structure, keeping Producing Artistic Director Bari Newport at the helm. Board President Rob Prybylo said, "Kathryn has made wonderful contributions to the company in her time here and we wish her all the best. The board is anxious to begin it's search for a replacement and intends to have this position filled prior to the theatre's reopening."
The company also announces the cancellation of their Dramatic Academy Summer Camp programming, which engages youth ages 4-20. The summer program typically includes two sessions of all-day theatrical education which culminate in fully realized productions. Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The Musical was previously scheduled to begin the week of June 22nd, and the second session, An Allagash Haunting, was set to start in late July.
Ben Layman, Director of Education, is "heartbroken that we won't be able to see our DA kids until the school year sessions begin, but after the recommendation from Maine's Department of Education to continue remote learning for the remainder of the school year, we knew this was the right choice." Layman will soon begin reaching out to families that may have already registered children for these programs. The Fall Dramatic Academy program for youth and adults will be announced in late May.
The impact of the pandemic is especially devastating to the theatre industry, with theatres around the country already having made the decision to close their doors, including all of Broadway. For some, these closures may be permanent. Penobscot Theatre Company relies almost solely on ticket and subscription sales to fund the high quality theatrical productions they've become well known for over the years. Subscribers and future ticket buyers should feel confident that the show will go on! Current subscribers may renew their subscriptions now. The 47th Season will be announced at the end of April and new subscriptions will be available to the public on May 4.
Since 1973, Penobscot Theatre Company has served year-round professional theatre to a radius of patrons which includes every county in Maine, 26 states and Canada. They own and operate the Historic Bangor Opera House, along with an off-site scene shop, and a private home for use by some of the more than 150 visiting artists they host each year from around the country. The company also employs fifteen full-time staff members and leases a storefront in Downtown Bangor for their Dramatic Academy Theatre education programming. Penobscot Theatre Company sees 40,000+ patrons each season.
PTC is asking the public for their assistance. "The generosity of our local community has sustained the theatre since it began. We know Penobscot Theatre Company is deeply valued, and for many in this region we have played a positive role in their lives, whether through a love of the art form or by watching their children grow up on our stage as part of Dramatic Academy. PTC has operated without debt for nearly a decade. The care we've taken to operate within our means will serve us well during this time, but we're not out of the woods yet. We know we are not alone in asking for help, and the truth is that we need it now more than ever." Newport said. Donations can be made by visiting the Penobscot Theatre Company website, by texting GIVEPTC to 56-512, or by sending a check to 131 Main St., Bangor, ME 04401.
Before the mandated closure, Penobscot Theatre Company was at the beginning of a successful 100th Anniversary campaign to benefit the Bangor Opera House. In celebration of the centennial milestone, the theatre seeks a total of 100 Centennial Patrons to donate $1000 or more to this fund and be recognized on a bronze plaque that will hang on the front of the Opera House. To learn more about this campaign, please contact PTC's board of directors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information regarding postponements of Tell Me On A Sunday, Becoming Dr. Ruth, and 9 to 5: The Musical will be available soon. The theatre asks all patrons who may have questions about those performances to wait to be contacted by the box office in the coming weeks.