BAR HARBOR — The Criterion Theatre is once again a bustling destination for both tourists and residents, and the hiring this summer of Heather Martin as the theater’s new director has made it clear that the board intends for the institution to become a vital year-round hub of the community.
Martin, a graduate of College of the Atlantic, has a long and well-respected track record within the state of Maine – not in the world of theatre, but in community organization and development.
“I think I was more surprised than anyone to find myself stepping into this role,” said Martin, “but this isn’t just a theatre, it is a trusted space for all of us to gather, discuss important topics, hear some great live music, and just be together as a community. What could be more rewarding?”
Best known for her work on local candidate and social justice campaigns, Martin is bringing her love of community engagement to the downtown. In addition to launching a new membership campaign, Martin has begun recruiting volunteers.
“I am so excited to see people signing up and becoming a part of the crew. People love this place,” Martin said. “I am forever amazed at the number of memories made here. First movies, first kisses – everyone has something important to share about what the Criterion means to them.”
Visitors to the Criterion will notice expanded programming, including live events and movies scheduled throughout the winter, and increased performances by local artists.
“We are also trying out some new technology to increase everyone’s ability to come see the shows,” Martin said. “For instance, we now have online ticketing – so the box office is always open. There have been a few learning bumps as we bring these things forward, but we are forever listening, learning and making adjustments. The Criterion belongs to the community. I want to be sure that every single person feels welcome here and has a sense of ownership.”
If recent events such as the popular live “Rocky Horror Show” are any indication, Martin is well on her way to realizing her vision of the theatre as the go-to arts hub of the area.
“Winters are long here,” she said. “It matters to have a place to go to hear great music, watch a great movie … or just be with other people. I’m honored to be a part of it.”