By Diana Bowley - Bangor Daily News - DEXTER - June Woodman will no longer have to shuffle furniture and props from room to room once a small addition to the former North Dexter Grange Hall is completed this fall.
The building houses the Wayside Theatre and the Wayside Grange, and Woodman is president and producer of the theater.
The addition will allow enough space for two acting groups to rehearse at the same time with their specific props.
"We are thrilled to be finally embarking on this project," Woodman said Tuesday.
The $5,000 donations from the Plum Creek Foundation and Bangor Savings Bank will help pay for the construction of an addition to the rear of the building. And it involves volunteer labor from students at the Tri-County Technical Center.
That addition will provide an entrance to the theater and dining room from the parking lot, as well as meeting space and a second rehearsal hall for youth theater on the first floor, according to Woodman. The move also will help reduce heating costs associated with back-to-back rehearsal schedules taking double the time, she said.
The second floor of the new addition will be level with the back stage and will provide a dressing area for the actors. It also will provide storage room for stage props.
"Once we have completed this expansion, Wayside Theatre will be able to stage productions with more dramatic sets, and we will have the space we need to conduct highly effective rehearsals," Woodman said.
As part of the project, Wayside's three new departments, The Wayside Singers, The Wayside Youth Theatre and Wayside's Actors Workshop, will each gain separate spaces in which to prepare for programs, Woodman said. In addition, the first-floor meeting room will enable the theater to provide for various special programs that do not require a stage, according to Woodman.
"It [the new addition] is much more efficient. It's almost impossible to operate with our present building because nothing can be stored near the stage," Woodman said.
Rocco Pico, a Plum Creek employee in Maine also involved with the Wayside Theatre, said he was proud his employer would support the Wayside Theater as a major contributor.
Woodman said the theater could still use another $5,000 to do the interior finishing in the new addition and to furnish the restrooms.
The theater has seen much growth since it was organized, Woodman said. She said the production season will change to keep electrical and heating costs to a minimum. Instead of operating from September through April, the theater will operate from April through early December. She said the theater will be marketed not only to the regular theater-goers, but also to the tourists who pass the theater on their way to the
Moosehead Lake region and to residents who winter in warmer climates but return home in the summer months.
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