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Theatre Quick Update!


* 2022 Friday Night Live-
10 events are planned for the outdoor stage July-August

The Milbridge Theatre and Community Arts Center- Project Fact Sheet
A Regional Community Development Effort by Gateway Milbridge

What is Gateway Milbridge?

Gateway Milbridge is a non-profit 501c3 designated organization formed to assist with a downtown revitalization effort for Milbridge through a variety of community focused projects including an emphasis on rebuilding and reopening the Milbridge Theatre as a full service Theatre and Community Arts Center.

What is the “Bring Back the Milbridge Theatre” project?   

As one of our projects, Gateway Milbridge is organizing an effort to rebuild and reopen the Milbridge Theatre as a modern full service theatre and community arts center serving Milbridge and the surrounding communities. The new, combined theatre and community arts center will provide us with a flexible venue and community gathering space for film and expanded options/events including educational programming, live music, lectures, and stage performances.

Why is the Milbridge Theatre so important to Milbridge?

The theatre has been a community icon since it was built in 1937.  Area residents relied on the theatre for entertainment and gathering because such opportunities here are few and often a great distance away.  It was one of the few facilities Milbridge had for creating a strong sense of community and belonging for our residents of all ages. Generations of our region's youth spent countless weekends of their lives at this theatre engaging in much-needed social and cultural experiences. The theatre's closure left an economic void in the center of our downtown.

Small towns and regions like ours face many difficult headwinds these days, and redevelopment projects, such as bringing back the Milbridge Theatre, are critical to the region's economy and our residents' quality of life. The new theatre and community arts center will not only provide our region with a venue for film, community gathering space, educational programming, and live performances, but it can create jobs, engage volunteers/students, attract visitors to the area, spur economic activity, and fill a critical commercial anchor in the center of our town.

Why was much of the theatre torn down – couldn’t we restore the existing building?

Professional architects and engineers worked on options for renovation and reconstruction.  The building had deteriorated significantly, and the most practical approach was to remove the structurally unsound sections and rebuild it. We are committed to restoring as many historic and sentimental items of the original theatre as possible, such as the candy counter, ticket counter, and other items.  Proposed plans include a new building with a street-front appearance replicating the historic appearance of the existing building, while providing handicap accessibility, new bathrooms, a larger stage, year-round heating and possibly air conditioning.

Is there a plan for the new theatre’s long term operation – how will it succeed?

Yes. We were awarded a grant from the Maine Community Foundation funding a feasibility study and long term business plan for the sustainability, design, programming, and operation of the theatre. Extensive interviews and financial reviews with other regional theatres show the project is viable and sustainable. The plan has been completed by a Portland group which focuses on business plans for non-profit organizations.

How much will it cost to build a new theatre and how long will it take?

This is a large undertaking and trying to do it all at once would be very difficult. That's why we broke it down into more easily achievable phases while still keeping the overall project in mind. Each phase is designed to provide immediate, tangible benefits:  acquiring the land and building, preserving historic items, removing the dilapidated building, creating a park-like green space for everyone to enjoy, and opening a new theatre and community arts center.  Each of these is a positive step forward with a solid accomplishment we can be proud of, and each will be fully funded and completed before we move deeply into the next phase.  

How will this project be paid for- will it draw on local tax dollars?

Funding is coming from a variety of sources, including private donations, business donations, foundation grants, public grants for community development, and significant volunteer efforts.  No funding is being sought or provided from the town government or local tax dollars.  Although the theatre will likely be operated as a non-profit organization, it is planned for it to remain on the Town tax rolls.  

Funding for phases 1 through 3 (approximately $95,000) was sought primarily through local donations from individuals and businesses in the immediate region along with small grants from within the state.  By receiving the funding for these three phases from a broad base of local donors, it allows us to demonstrate local and regional project support which positions us to receive the larger corporate donations and larger matching grants necessary to fully fund phase 4, the construction and equipping of the new building.

What has been accomplished so far?   


How can I learn more?

Complete information about the Milbridge Theatre project and how to contact us is available online at  Area residents sit on the Board of Directors, and are always willing to talk about this beloved project as well as our other projects for revitalizing downtown Milbridge.  

How can I help?

Your support is critical to this project.  Please help us by spreading the word about our efforts. Sign up on our website for updates, and "like" us on our Facebook page.  Contact us with your ideas, comments, and questions at any time.  Attend a fundraising event.  Join us as a volunteer.  Donate online or in person.

How can people or businesses make a donation?

Gateway Milbridge is a 501c3 designated nonprofit organization.  Donations are tax-deductible and receipts are given for donations.

You can make a tax-deductible donation on our website by credit card or you may donate by check.

Check donations may be made payable and sent to:  

Gateway Milbridge, PO Box 62, Milbridge, ME  04658

Project Fact Sheet