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Bangor theatre reopens to live audiences

After putting on virtual performances during the pandemic, live audiences are returning for the Penobscot Theatre Company.

BANGOR, Maine — For nearly two years, twenty months to be exact, the Penobscot Theatre Company had to rely on virtual performances and out-of-the-ordinary ways to present and provide arts and culture to the people of greater Bangor and beyond.

Executive Director Jen Shepard said the pandemic was tough on the company and then some.

“Tough in terms of keeping hope and keeping doors closed while still having art go out of the doors and rewarding in finding out just how much we mean to the people who make up this community,” she said.

But now, at long last, the Bangor Opera House doors are open, guests coming inside, and the curtain is going up for a live audience to enjoy the show.  

“Miracle on 34th Street” is opening Thursday evening and features a very local take on the 1947 radio broadcast about a department store Santa Claus from which it is adapted.

“What they should really expect is this is a play that is about why people should believe in each other and why that’s important not just on like Christmas, where that’s a special day, but it’s important every day. And it’s certainly what has gotten us through this year --- that people believe in us,” Shepherd said Wednesday night just before the technical run-through of the show.

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

Theatre goers must bring proof of vaccination against COVID or the negative results of a virus test taken within the prior three days.  

Everyone in the Bangor Opera House must also wear masks throughout the evening. These are things that do not diminish the amazement theatre staff feel to be putting on shows for live audiences at long last.

“We were thankful and fortunate enough to keep our staff these past 20 months. We pivoted to a digital season last year, but there’s nothing like live theater and getting people in the building and welcoming them here. It’s the greatest gift for the holidays, honestly,” Acting Artistic Director Tricia Hobbs said. 

“Miracle on 34th Street” opens Thursday and runs selected nights of the week through Dec. 26.  The schedule includes several Saturday and Sunday afternoon performances. 

For more information on the show, click here

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