To the Editor:
The Criterion Theatre is a place where kids sneak first kisses in the balcony, where friends rock out to brilliant musicians, where local third graders and younger first perform on a real live stage and it’s a place where community isn’t a concept, but an actuality.
“This place,” my 11-year-old said after watching a Star Wars movie, “is the bomb.”
It is. As a nonprofit organization, the theater relies on donations, memberships and ticket sales to survive, but in truth it relies on more than that. It relies on its staff. As the former vice president of the board, I’ve watched the staff of the Criterion Theatre these last few years and I have to say that I’m astonished by the skill, dedication, and heart of Executive Director Amy Roeder, Development Director Mark Tipton, House Manager Chuck Colbert, Concessions Manager and Film Curator Nathanael Lee and Box Office Manager Zachary Taibi.
In difficult economic times, this team has soldiered through ups and downs, and with the help of its board and volunteers, kept the theater not just afloat but alive.
Yet these theater warriors receive little praise for the amazing job that they do bringing music, theater, film, dance and more to our community. Often blending into the stage wings, they work wild hours, staying in the theater past midnight to cover shows, working weekends and lunches to cultivate donors and business sponsors and dealing with the occasionally spunky board member (Believe me, I know. I was one of them.).
They do it with a great passion and love for not just the theater’s historic space, but also for this community and the impact that the arts have on its members. Ask Amy or Mark about the next event at the Criterion and their entire faces light up. Ask Chuck about deconstructing Graham Nash’s set and he’ll wax poetic about the beauty of the gig.
Ask any of them about the opportunities having theater and music in Bar Harbor and what that does for kids in this area and their lead you into a litany of praises, hearts open wide.
I am so grateful not just that we have this theater in the community, but that we have such an intelligent, diligent passionate group of people who run it. We are so lucky.