The Waldo Theatre Board of Directors has been busy finalizing the Raise the Roof portion of its three-phase capital campaign to reopen the Waldo Theatre. As soon as there is favorable weather, the roofers will be at work.
The next phase will focus on renovations of the building’s interior — including insulation installation, plaster repair, seating refurbishment, restroom repairs, and the hiring of an executive director.
The Waldo Theatre is grateful to the local businesses and organizations that have generously sponsored the theater this winter and helped make the first-phase fundraising efforts a success. Many have shared what the Waldo Theatre has meant to families in the past, and what a revitalized theater could mean for the future of Waldoboro and the surrounding area.
Scott Lash, of Lash Realty Group, said he supports the Waldo because “I believe in preserving the rich history of Waldoboro and want to help keep our heritage thriving.” In a similar vein, George Seaver, of the Waldoboro Business Park, views the theater as a “unique and irreplaceable link” both to the past and to what lies ahead for the economic development of the area.
Laura Cabot noted that “during the years my restaurant and the theater were both operational, each made the other a richer experience.”
Charlotte Davenhill, of Tidemark Gallery + Cafe, sees clear opportunities for creative enrichment that allow people to “see the artist in each and every person,” and Jeff Payson considers live theater as a “lifelong activity where multigenerational talent can be shared.”
Clayton Pennington, of Maine Antique Digest, describes the theater as “a jewel and one that will add luster to Waldoboro.”
The Waldoboro Business Association, which includes 86 members of the local small business community, said it “looks forward to the time when the Waldo Theatre is once again the center of our cultural, social, and commercial endeavors,” with “shows and events bringing lots of people into town to appreciate all that Waldoboro has to offer. The Waldo afforded a cultural focus to Waldoboro’s downtown village, and the WBA believes in and encourages the re-creation and transformation of that focus with a 21st century twang.
“When it once again opens its doors to all Midcoast communities, the Waldo Theatre will restore vibrancy to Waldoboro village and reclaim its important role as a collaborative partner with schools, businesses, and nonprofits.”
Many of the businesses supporting the Waldo today have been supporting it for decades. The Waldoborough Historical Society recently shared an image of a curtain banner from the 1930s featuring local business names. This was typical of the kinds of banners found in town halls, Granges, and theaters from the 1890s through 1940. Jean Lawrence, president of the Waldoborough Historical Society, said, “We know that there were two theater curtains in Waldoboro: Winslows Mills and another at Clark’s Hall, on the right side of Main Street as you moved down the hill towards the bridge. When Clark’s Hall was demolished in the 1960s, that curtain vanished (probably swept up by an antiques collector who knew its value). In the day, theater curtains were made by various companies for advertising purposes. More than likely a salesman came to town and sold advertising space on the curtain.” This curtain is now on permanent display at the historical society museum. One can find out more about this unique moment in Waldoboro’s economic and cultural history at curtainswithoutborders.org/scenic-artists.
The Waldo Theatre Board is committed to developing the Waldo as a cultural center, an educational facility, a lecture and seminar space, and a top-talent venue for the enrichment and entertainment of youth and the wider community. The Waldo Theatre welcomes donations and sponsorships from the business community for next phase of the Waldo Theatre campaign.
While the organization has many talented volunteers for different projects ready to go, they need the funds to purchase materials and to hire some professional services. By investing in this project, local businesses can help make the Waldo Theatre a place where people of all ages can come together to find their voice, tell their stories, and celebrate the arts. For information on how to help, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to waldotheatre.org.