The Center Theatre is a historic theatre and local landmark on Dover-Foxcroft’s Main Street. The theatre, which was built in 1940, operated as a movie-house until it closed in the early 70’s. The lobby space hosted a variety of businesses, but the auditorium was abandoned for nearly 30 years. In 1997, a group of local citizens, alarmed by the loss of other historic buildings and aware of the need for a performing arts and cultural center in Piscataquis County, founded the Center Theatre Group. In 1998 we became Center Theatre, Inc. a bona fide 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation.
Following our founding, we completed architectural and feasibility studies, created a business plan, and began to build the capacity of our Board of Directors. In 2002, the Board of Directors purchased the theatre building. We then launched a vigorous capital campaign to raise $1.5 million for renovations. The Theatre was renovated in an art-deco style and we have returned the Theatre façade to its original 1940 appearance. The Theatre held its grand opening in August of 2006 and as of 2013, is in its eighth full-year of operation.
Our programs include first and second-run movies, documentaries, and local films. Our Community Theatre Group, The Slightly Off-Center Players, produces multiple productions each year. We host live musical concerts, community events, and productions by local schools. Our longest running program, the Center Theatre Children’s Summer Drama Camp, has been in operation since 1998 and brings children from all over our area learn about all aspects of performing live theater.
Besides bringing arts and cultural programming to Central Maine, the Center Theatre also shows the power of the creative economy. In addition to employing both a full-time Executive Director and an Operations Manager, the Theatre hires local contractors and buys supplies locally. Restaurants and bed & breakfasts fill up on show nights and downtown Dover-Foxcroft is filled with cars both from here and “away.” We are committed to supporting local businesses as the backbone of our economic community.
The Center Theatre is truly a community effort and looks forward to bringing both cultural and economic benefits to Piscataquis County for many, many years to come.