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*Our 2019 summer schedule of FREE "Friday Night Live" events with outdoor films and concerts every Friday night will be announced by March 1.   

After detailed input from communities across the area, our largest program is rebuilding and reopening the Milbridge Theatre as a modern, full-service Theatre and Community Arts Center providing a flexible venue and much-needed community gathering space for performances, cultural arts, educational programming, and film. We operate a newly constructed, seasonal, outdoor stage at the theatre's downtown site, featuring programming free of charge to the public.


The Milbridge 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 we had for creating a strong sense of community and belonging for area residents of all ages. Generations of our region's youth spent countless weekends of their lives at the theatre engaging in much-needed social and cultural interaction.  Its closure, nearly 4 years ago, left a deep economic void in the center of town and a lack of artistic/cultural opportunities and programming for our community.


When we embarked on this project, we held community meetings and conducted a detailed community survey to gauge interest and objectives in rebuilding and reopening the Milbridge Theatre.  We received numerous responses reflecting overwhelming support to see the theatre reopened and expanded as a full-service Theatre and Community Arts Center offering a wide range of artistic, educational, and entertainment programming.


The new Milbridge Theatre will not only show films, but will have a broader operational and business scope to include hosting live performances, local talent, historic and art film, educational programs, and other community events. Importantly, it will provide a venue for the region's youth to develop their artistic and creative interests, gain life and employment skills, and cultivate their sense of civic engagement. A main focus of theatre programming will be on youth involvement in theatre, music, and film; and on providing a real theatre space for use by local schools and youth programs.


Rebuilding and reopening the Milbridge Theatre will also contribute greatly to our economy. It will create professional jobs and skill-building volunteer opportunities. Theatre-goers will go out to dinner, buy gas, poke around in the gallery and gift shops, and maybe even spend the night in town and visit nearby communities. With a central gathering place re-established and community activity increased, youth will have greater reason to stick around, and young adults from away may be more attracted to move here. Over time, such activity could inspire entrepreneurs to open new businesses, contributing to the growth and vitality of the region.  To learn more about the positive impacts the theatre can bring to our area business community and the economic benefits for all of us, please click here to read the Milbridge Theatre Business Community Benefits Flyer.


Phases 1 and 2 (Jan-December 2016) - Raise the initial funds necessary to purchase the existing theatre building and land and cover the cost of insurance, taxes and legal work. Complete development of a professional long term business plan, initiate building design options and continue fundraising.  

Estimated Cost- $72,000  COMPLETED


Phase 3 (January-December 2017) - Remove the structurally unsound portions of the building, retain the Marquee Shoppe portion of the structure, store historic items for preservation, stabilize the site by creating a simple, park-like green space, refurbish/reopen the Marquee Shoppe as a mini-museum of the theatre's history, and build an outdoor stage that can be used and enjoyed immediately by the community for outdoor movies and outdoor entertainment while we continue raising money for the new building.  

Estimated Cost- $29,000   COMPLETED


Phases 4-7 (2018-2020) - Plan and construct a new facility that can be enhanced and expanded over time. Includes rebuilding and equipping the structure for use as a theatre and modern community arts center for a variety of film and live performances.  

Estimated Cost-  $579,000  IN PROCESS


Plans call for a facility of approximately 4,400 square feet with seating for over 200.  We envision the building as an efficient, easy to maintain, comfortable, year-round facility that will be fairly basic at first, but which can be enhanced over time.  As with any large project, we will proceed in phases so we can pay as we go with a steady path toward accomplishment rather than trying to do everything all at once.  


This process will enable us to have access to a year-round facility much sooner. Then, we can continue to enhance the facility over time.  For the needs of the community, it's the fastest and most economical way to get a year-round, climate controlled building in place and operating so we can have year-round artistic, cultural, and educational programming opportunities while using much of the equipment we already have in place for sound and film.  Then, with a completed, comfortable structure in place, we can move into phases 6 through 8 as fundraising enables us to enhance the facility's sound and lighting systems, improve theatre seating, and offer advanced digital projection systems for modern film capabilities.


The outdoor programming we're already providing has strong, tangible results. Having a new, year-round indoor stage in a modern, comfortable facility will greatly expand and build upon all of these demonstrated results by increasing the types and number of year-round artistic, cultural, and educational programming opportunities we can offer to our community and our students.


We're well on the way to making the Milbridge Theatre a reality. To help us meet our fundraising goals, Gateway Milbridge is embarking on a capital campaign. Our website, MilbridgeTheatre.org, provides up-to-date information about our efforts and how you can help and also visit us on our Facebook page.

Project Details