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Encouraging investment and revitalization of local towns and villages

On this page:

Vision and Strategy 

Painting by Milton ChristiansonAs a region, we must continue to invest in our communities – large and small - retaining the best of our cultural heritage while developing the systems (civic organization, communications, transportation) that will make us competitive in coming decades. Revitalization of our towns and villages as dynamic centers of social, commercial, and cultural activity will be critical to insuring future prosperity for the Maine Woods region.

Desired Outcomes 

  • Increased pride and self reliance
  • Cultural assets conserved and enhanced creating a vibrant cultural life
  • Strong social and civic fabric
  • Sustainable systems for delivery of government and social services including health and place-appropriate education services – organized and deployed on service area scale 
  • Affordable and energy efficient housing and transportation. 
  • Young adults higher percentage of population 

Each month MWC picks a project to feature that we perceive as moving the Maine Woods towards the desired outcomes outlined above. If you would like to submit your project for consideration, email Shaunacy Cobb.

Dover-Foxcroft Takes a Theatrical Approach to Community Revitalization
Written by Patrick Myers, Executive Director, Center Theatre 

The Center Theatre for the Performing Arts in Dover-Foxcroft is a community-based success story that is helping to reenergize downtown Dover-Foxcroft and the surrounding area. Built in 1941, the Center Theatre started it’s life as a for-profit movie house, but closed its doors in the early 70’s. In 1998, a group of local citizens, shocked by the loss of several local buildings, began talking around their kitchen tables about saving the old theatre and bringing it back to life. Eight years and 1.5 million dollars later, the Center Theatre for the Performing Arts opened it’s doors. The Theatre is now open year-round, providing the only professional performing arts space in Piscataquis County. The Theatre hosts concerts, community events, school performances, shows movies, and produces live theatre through its community theater group, the Slightly Off-Center Players. Image at right is from a recent production of Moonlight and Magnolias by Ron Hutchinson.

The Center Theatre’s success has not only brought arts, culture and entertainment to this underserved community. The Theatre’s events bring in artists from outside the area, such as the Army Band and Bangor Ballet while also striving to highlight the talent found locally. Foxcroft Academy, the area high-school, now performs all its theatrical performances and many of its music and dance events at the Center Theatre. The attendees enjoy a more comfortable venue and the kids enjoy a greater sense of pride and accomplishment. They see the Theatre as “theirs” and a place where they do not have to compete for stage time with sports or other activities.
The Theatre also brings economic vitality to the region.  The entertainment dollars spent at the Theatre would otherwise have gone outside the area. At the same time, the Theatre draws people into the area from away - bringing new visitors into the region who buy gas and dinner and shop downtown. The biggest complaint on a show night is that there aren’t any parking spaces downtown. How many small Maine towns would like to have that problem? Being champions of the “buy local” attitude, the Theatre practices what it preaches and strives to spend as much locally as possible. Of every dollar spent by the Theatre, 65 cents stays within the local economy.  
The Center Theatre strives to revitalize the local community culturally and economically and, in these difficult economic times, raise the community’s spirits. For more information on the Center Theatre, please call (207) 564-8943 or visit
Maine Mountain Heritage