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August 17, 2018

Community effort underway to revitalize Waldo Theatre

Courtesy / Maine Preservation
Courtesy / Maine Preservation
A community fundraising effort is underway to prevent further deterioration of the Waldo Theatre in Waldoboro.

The prospect of further deterioration of the Waldo Theatre in Waldoboro has prompted several community members to reestablish a board of directors and begin working on its restoration.

The effort coincides with the town's "period of revitalization," including a new brewery and soap-making business, Town Manager Julie Keizer told the Bangor Daily News.

According to posts on the Waldo Theatre website, Waldo Theatre Inc. is under the leadership of a new board of directors, which has embarked on a fundraising campaign to restore the building and prepare for a sustainable future. The board received a grant from the Maine Community Foundation to develop its campaign strategy. The board envisions films, concerts, live theater, national, state and regional acts, youth gatherings, live-stream educational and entertainment content, private rentals and after-school activities. It's expected that a vibrant theatre will serve as a cultural hub, sparking an economic and cultural renaissance in downtown Waldoboro and the midcoast region.

Phase 1 of the restoration will focus on replacing the roof, moisture remediation and repairing and upgrading the electric and plumbing systems.

Phase 2, expected to begin in 2019, will focus on the interior. Phase Three, in 2020, will complete the interior and exterior renovations and technology upgrades.

The Waldoboro Theatre's restoration is part of a trend of similar projects. Earlier this year, Augusta's 1913 beaux arts Colonial Theater was in the midst of an $8.5 million renovation of the building at 139 Water St.

In 2016, a $4.3 million plan was underway to renovate a 400-seat theater in the Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center in Gardiner.

In 2014, the community of Bucksport pitched in to keep up the Alamo Theatre, dating back to 1916, by launching a fundraising campaign to upgrade technology with a digital movie projector.

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