Lincoln’s professional Playhouse welcomed new Trustees to their Board, and a new Board President at their recent meeting, held in the RiverWalk Resort boardroom as one of many fresh steps in their vision for 2020.
Joining the Board at the nonprofit theatre are Deb O’Connor, Connie Chesebrough, Kim Pickering, and Rep. Jerry Stringham to serve alongside members Jean Gessner, Brian Baker, Dennis Ducharme, Ken Chapman, Robert Wetherell, and new Board President Scott Rice. “Together, our Board now represents a wider variety of interest and communities,” said Managing Director Lyn Osborne Winter, “and we’re definitely looking forward to the infusion of talent and interest to help with what amounts to a renewed energy here at the Playhouse.”
Part of the renewed energy comes from a more pointed focus in scheduling events and productions: this winter, the Playhouse went into hibernation for a few of the winter months, a time proven to require more resources than income. “By curtailing events during the first quarter, the projected savings in spending also offered invaluable time to develop programs and plan for renewed success,” according to Producing Artistic Director Joel Mercier. Mercier and Winter, with considerable management experience, provide the year round administration needed to shepherd the nonprofit.
In addition to new Board members and leadership, the North Country Center for the Arts has a new partner in the Bruce C. Alexander Foundation. This winter, the Foundation – long a supporting friend – invested in the future of the Playhouse with a major gift that effectively retired a commercial mortgage, the cost of which had dogged the finances since the new theatre was erected seven years ago. The new arrangement testifies to local support and interest in keeping the vibrant arts organization a part of the community and region, a position it has held since their first summer of 1986.
Local and regional connections have always been strong, particularly in offering local participation by adults and children alike. Jean’s Teens, begun in 2013 to support Linwood students with a drama outlet, has grown to include participation from youth age 8 on up – and this year has been reborn as StageSetters. The StageSetter program will still offer youngsters 8 to 18 a place to perform in two full scale musicals annually – but the professional staff will be leading an education-based, theatre arts focus that will include master classes and more opportunities for participants to explore the world of theatre in depth. Look for information sessions and auditions coming later in March.
Of course, what most of the region sees at the Playhouse is what’s onstage, and there is much ahead for the region in a full summer into fall of live professional theatre that includes Mamma Mia!, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, DeathTrap, The Marvelous Wonderettes, and Nunsense A-men! Plus look for performances by the James Montgomery Band, Juston McKinney, a whole array of Boston area standup headliners, Warren Miller ski film event, and many other performers and entertainers to make appearances from May through December.
Look for more information as the season ahead rolls out and special events are scheduled outside of the theatre. Sponsorships and program advertising are available now, and the Playhouse will launch their annual fund drive in just a few weeks. Visit www.jeansplayhouse.com for news and information, or subscribe to their newsletters, as the North Country Center for the Arts continue to build on a renewed vision of theatre from the heart of the White Mountains.
NCCA welcomed three newest of four Board members, Deb O'Connor, Connie Chesebrough, and Kim Pickering (Jerry Stringham had work in Concord), and congratulated new Board president Scott Rice as all posed for managing director Lyn Winter's camera at the Riverwalk board room with trustee Ken Chapman, board secretary Robert Wetherell, and Joel Mercier, producing artistic director. A lot of plans ahead, information and updates at www.jeansplayhouse.com