Randy Jackson shouldn’t be the sort of one that can sit again and anticipate others to take motion to enhance the Katahdin area.
That’s why the previous Millinocket city councilor final 12 months purchased a long-vacant downtown constructing. His dream was to convey some tradition to the previous mill city by changing the property right into a 48-seat efficiency house.
Referred to as the Boreal Theater, it held its opening occasion final month that includes a small jazz band and a sold-out crowd. The concept is that the theater will develop into an area that often hosts live shows, performs, artwork reveals and different occasions.
“Millinocket wants tradition,” Jackson stated. “A city with out tradition is a city whose coronary heart could be very empty.”
The Boreal Theater is one a part of the work Jackson and others within the Katahdin area are taking up to assist rework the realm right into a vacationer vacation spot, permitting its communities to thrive once more and entice year-round residents.
The theater constructing, at 215 Penobscot Ave. within the downtown space, was constructed within the Nineteen Forties as a haberdashery, in accordance with Jackson. It later hosted a clothes retailer, card store and lawyer’s workplace however had been empty for 15 to twenty years when Jackson purchased it final 12 months.
“It had been closed up for a few years,” he stated lately. “It had no warmth, no electrical energy and no water. It was in fairly a state.”
Jackson took on a lot of the renovation work himself, bringing the constructing to life, on each the inside and exterior, as a performing arts house.
To assist help the theater, Jackson created two retail areas. They’re occupied by Yum Bake Store, owned by John and Maria Rowe, and the Katahdin Gear Library, a Millinocket Memorial Library program that rents out of doors gear together with skis and bicycles.
Left to proper, Boreal Theater board members (left to proper) Randy Jackson, Renee St. Jean and Johnny Van Heest attend a fundraising occasion to help the 48-seat venue on the Blue Ox in Millinocket. The Boreal Theater drew a sold-out crawd for its first occasion final month. Randy Jackson purchased and renovated an empty constructing to create the 48-seat venue. Credit score: Courtesy of Randy Jackson
Along with making a efficiency house, Jackson stated he additionally wished to guard the inexperienced house subsequent to the constructing, which was included within the property buy. He didn’t need a developer to purchase it and pave it over or use it to increase the constructing.
The theater obtained a $25,000 grant from the Elmina B. Sewall Basis in Freeport, which went towards renovations. The board is now working to lift about $110,000 for mild and sound gear. A latest live performance in an area bar raised $700 towards that value.
Brenda Angotti of Millinocket retired final 12 months after instructing music in Millinocket colleges for 35 years and now serves on the theater’s board of administrators.
“The faculties do an important job instructing the performing arts, however after youngsters graduate, there’s not plenty of alternatives for them to carry out,” she stated. “We’re fairly secluded up right here. Not many youngsters have the chance to go to a Bangor Symphony Orchestra live performance or a Penobscot Theatre manufacturing.”
Angotti’s private hope is that small teams of musicians will go to colleges after which carry out on the Boreal Theater. She additionally hopes individuals desirous about theater will use the venue to current small-scale productions for adults and youngsters.
“That is an intimate house that is likely to be higher fitted to these sorts of issues than the bigger college auditoriums,” she stated.
The house additionally is on the market for artwork reveals, academic applications and capabilities, and as a neighborhood assembly house. Rental info shall be included quickly on the theater’s web site.
The phrase boreal refers to northern areas, together with forested areas in northern Eurasia and northern North America.
For extra info on Boreal Theater, go to borealtheater.org or name 207-560-5256.