Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year - and thank you!!!

Dear friend,


What a year for the Opera House! A whirlwind of art and music and community and learning!

For the Opera House, 2015 was a year of transition, with the completion of the new scene shop and lobby (and all those beautiful bathrooms, of course!) and my own arrival as the new director for this wonderful organization. And throughout this year of change and growth, it has been your support that has made it possible.

Did you attend a film this year? Join us each Wednesday in the summer for Live for $5? Have you performed at one of our Open Mic nights in the newly-minted Live in the Lobby series? Did you marvel at Chekhov by the seashore or Shakespeare in Stonington? Dance in your seat at the Jazz Festival? Did you give us a gift towards either our annual fund or our capital campaign? Act in one of our Community Staged Readings? Join us for a conversation in the lobby? Get your picture taken with Santa?

Whatever your points of interaction with us have been, it is your engagement with the Opera House that makes our work possible. Thank you.


In 2016, we’re continuing our growth, with increased winter programming through our newly launched
Harbor Residency Program, our continuing community partnerships with the Island Nursing Home, the Town of Stonington and the Island Community Center, more Community Staged Readings, and of course, our expanded exciting summer season!

If you can support us with a year-end gift, that will help all those programs. Make you gift online today.

Opera House Arts has always and continues to use the performing arts to foster and promote excellence in all the ways we perform our lives: Incite Art. Create Community. Thank YOU for being a pivotal part of that community.

Meg Taintor
Producing Artistic Director

Monday, November 2, 2015

Incite Art. Create Community. (And Conversations. And Joy.)

When I moved to the island at the beginning of the summer to begin my work at the Opera House, everyone kept telling me how much calmer things got in the fall - and while that probably is true, you wouldn't know it our last week here!

How much did you join us for?

Were you with us on Wednesday for our day-long symposium with the students of Deer Isle-Stonington High School? How about Thursday for our free community matinee screening of Singin' In the Rain? Did you catch Bridge of Spies over the weekend?

The intrepid staff at OHA show off their Halloween onesies.
(Or, as we have started calling them, our #Hallowonesies.)
Were you one of the dozens of costumed merry-makers who celebrated with us all day on Saturday as we hosted a free family Halloween Extravaganza with trick-or-treating, cookie decoration, costumes and screening of Caspar?

As I sat in the back of the theatre on Saturday night unwinding after a long day of wearing a bear onesie (don't ask) while handing out candy and toys to the dozens of families who joined us during the day, I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to be a part of this community.

I've also been thinking that as I work in the rehearsal room in preparation for this week's Community Staged Reading presentations of Nick Payne's beautiful, heart-breaking, heart-healing, universe-jumping love story: Constellations.

Making its regional premiere on our stage this week, Constellations is a classic love story. She is a physicist and he's a bee-keeper and though they are an unlikely match, as they meet and re-meet across the multiverse, they tell a boy-meets-girl story as old as time. It’s a play about small talk and big ideas. It’s about saying goodbye and about never having to say goodbye. It’s about the boundless potential of a connection between two people. It’s a heart-breaking love story of endless invention. It's also very very funny.

I've loved this play since I first read it. It is a beautiful exploration of what it means to be human - how do we chose the paths that we chose? What parts of our life can we have control over? In what parts of our lives do we have no control, no choice in the outcome? It's a play that asks more questions than it answers, and that leaves its audience wanting to talk - so we are, of course, providing that space for conversation.

The readings are this Wednesday and Thursday evening at 7pm. Wednesday, stay after the show to join in a conversation about the issues raised by the play. Thursday, come early and enjoy Pam's delicious flatbread pizzas in our beautiful new lobby.

See you in the theatre!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Specter Showcase: A Whole Mess of Folks

Happy All Hallows' Eve Eve, friends! Does this put you in the same festive mood as it does us? Speaking of feeling festive...if you ever find yourself looking for a place to party with a whole passel of ghosts, you might want to head toward the Big Apple. 

Known as: A Whole Mess of Folks 

Sad you never got to see Judy Garland in the theatre? Well, you may still have a chance. Many have claimed to see Ms. Garland hanging out near the Palace’s orchestra pit – perhaps warming up for her next show. And she’s not the only one with a fondness for this theatre. Acrobat Louis Bossalina likes to use the space to try to recreate his infamous high-wire act of 1935 – always hoping for a less fatal ending. A cellist clad all in white roams the theatre. Maybe she plays for the children’s specters who have also found their way to this stage – a little boy who brought his trucks with him to the afterlife and a young girl who likes to observe the goings on from the balcony.

That’s it for this year’s week of Halloween hauntings! We hope you enjoyed the chills and thrills. And remember, these are just a small selection of theatre ghost stories – so the next time that you’re taking in a show, maybe say a quiet “Thanks for having me.” It’s only polite. You are, after all, in their home.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Specter Showcase: Yuri and The Wailing Woman

Sometimes with ghosts, as with life, you have to take the good with the bad. If that doesn't work for you, you should probably avoid this theatre. 

Known as: Yuri and The Wailing Woman 

This sounds like the name of a new band, but these two aren’t actually pals. They just apparently shared a post-life realtor. Yuri is from the Casper-school of apparitions. He’s a friendly fellow, who unfortunately fell to his death onstage while dancing. Nowadays he’s known for causing strange electrical occurrences. Some also credit Yuri with saving the life of one of the projectionists – on two different occasions. The Wailing Woman, on the other hand, is not quite as exuberant. After being booed off the stage, she decided to explore…less corporeal options. Now she goes after some of the other actresses who grace the St. James stage. Her weapons of choice? Falls, sprains and brutal head colds.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Specter Showcase: Victims of a Theatre Fire

If you ever feel the urge to call something unsinkable, unbreakable, indestructible, or anything of the like - resist. It never ends well.   

Known As: Victims of a Theatre Fire 

The Titanic of theatres, this venue – then called Chicago’s Iroquois Theatre – was deemed “absolutely fireproof.” A month later, this confidence took a hit when the deadliest theatre fire in American history raged through its hallways. Over 600 people perished. When the new theatre was built on the same site, the spirits apparently felt that a theatre is a theatre and decided to stay on. They are most frequently seen in the alley behind the building where bodies were stacked in wake of the disaster.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Specter Showcase: Inhabitants of Ancient Graveyard

We're back with our next group of apparitions. They're a little bit angsty, but they have good reason...

Known as: Inhabitants of Ancient Graveyard
Haunts: Huguan Huiguan Opera House in Beijing, China

You see this lovely paved area out front here?
Don't throw stones there if you know what's good for you.

You know what’s never a fantastic idea? To build anything on top of an old graveyard. Many visiting this theatre have heard the wails and screams of the underground occupants. Also if you find yourself wanting to throw a stone in the courtyard, you willed be yelled at. And you haven’t been scolded, until you’ve been scolded by a disembodied voice.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Specter Showcase: The Man in Grey

Hello friends! It is Halloween week and it is time for some ghosting around. And who better to help us get started than this fine fellow?

Known As: The Man in Grey

In terms of eternal roaming could do worse.

A gentleman believed to be hailing from the 18th-century (largely because of his insistence on wearing a tricorner hat, though that may just be a fashion choice. Check out that hat over there, who wouldn't want to sport such a fetching item?). Regardless, he likes to watch the shows from the upper box and has been noticed by numerous actors, audience members, and stage hands over the years. He’s considered to be good luck.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Halloween Hauntings...

Halloween is coming and we have ghosts on the brain. It’s not surprising given the turning leaves, rustling winds and rolling clouds. Casper will be flying into our theatre on Halloween afternoon, but what of other theatres and their apparitions?

It’s not really surprising that many theatres across the world report spirit sightings and hauntings. After all, where would you rather be if you were a ghost – an enormous, old, drafty, empty house, smoldering into ruin or a theatre where you can people watch and take in a plethora of performances? Personally, we see the charms to both, but it largely depends on whether you’re an introverted or an extraverted specter. Big afterlife decisions...

Maybe we'll be able to help you out with your research about these important choices. Celebrate All Hallows' Eve and join us here on the blog next week as we explore some of the different ghosts and ghouls of theatres ‘round the world!