Criterion Managing Director and “View From ‘32” podcast host Taylor Valarik. ISLANDER PHOTO BY NINAH GILE

Criterion to host live events this summer



BAR HARBOR — In addition to producing the latest “View From ‘32” podcast episodes and livestreaming performances online, the 1932 Criterion Theatre management has also been gearing up to once again host guests inside the historic venue. 

The theater, which underwent major renovations in 2014, has long been a draw for locals and visitors alike but during the last year, capacity restrictions and gathering limits have forced it to close 

As the nonprofit prepares to reopen, it has also been making user-friendly improvements to its online infrastructure. The Criterion website just had a major facelift, said Managing Director Taylor Valarik, who added that the organization has spent time remodeling the entire webpage for fans and donors to navigate more easily.  

“The website is brand new,” he said.  

In addition to the new website, the venue’s computer system will also be updated.  

“The whole POS system in the theatre, all the card readers, all the computers and everything are being updated right now,” said Valarik 

The newlyinstalled technology will make sales operations much easier once a bigger audience is allowed back indoors.  

Valarik said the theater has 760 seats that he hopes will sell out on a regular basis once it can reopen at full capacity, and he plans to sell tickets in a different way. Instead of having to come to the window, theater goers will be able to use the Fandango app on their phone to purchase show tickets. 

Maintaining compliance with state gathering limitsthe theater’s directors have also made the decision to start hosting private events.  

“We are going to start renting the space out for gatherings of 20 people or less,” said Valarik. Though memberships and other donations remain critical for keeping the theater afloat, he said the organization needs to also use the space to generate revenue.  

“I’ve been working on writing lots of grants. I’ve been here since April. When I was thinking about taking the position, coronavirus was kind of starting, but I didn’t think it would ever come to this. We’ve certainly made do,” Valarik said.  

In the meantime, he has continued using the space to film the “View From ‘32” podcast and host livestreamed concerts online. “We shot 18 episodes [of the podcast]. I believe there’s a couple [episodes] that I still need to edit before I release them on YouTube,” he said.  

So far, the “The View from ‘32” has featured guest artists such as Caroline Cotter, Mark “Bluesboy” Kanter, Hawk Henries and Brian Kupiec. As of September, the Criterion has been live streaming concerts on their Facebook page.  

“On the 17th, we’re doing another livestream with Gordon Ward, said Valarik. 

While the Criterion staff uses the theater to the best of their ability, they also look forward to kicking off their anticipated season of entertainment with a David Crosby show on June 12.  

To learn more about the venue or to reserve space, visit the new website at criteriontheatre.org.  

*Editor’s Note: Shortly after this article was published the David Crosby show was canceled.

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.
Ninah Rein

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