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Penobscot Theatre Co. turns to Centennial Patron fundraiser amid pandemic

Downtown Bangor's only live theater company hope 100 patrons will each donate $1,000 to keep the stage lights on

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Opera House was once one of several downtown Bangor live theater venues. Now it stands alone as the only stage survivor.

Home to the Penobscot Theatre Company (PTC), its 2020 centennial celebration was cut short by the COVID pandemic.

The quiet stage and empty seats have also busted the company’s budget.

To save it, the PTC has been running a “Centennial Patron Program” —a call for 100 members of the community to donate $1,000 each to help the company stay afloat during its dark days.

The purpose is to “pick up this banner and finish honoring this building and honoring the work this theater company does in the community,” PTC Executive Director Jen Shephard said.

So far, nearly 70 patrons have pitched in funds to support meeting the mortgage, paying utility bills, and more.

“Since we moved in we have been steadily beautifying her and loving her up and making it our home and those are what those funds will help us do,” Shephard explained.

Centennial Patrons will have their generosity forever celebrated with their names on a large bronze plaque that will be permanently mounted on the front entrance of the Bangor Opera House.

Bangor High School math teacher Eric Steadman has already pitched in.

“I felt like it was a great chance to honor the past and also help it survive into the future,” Steadman said.

Theater leaders hope to meet their $1,000 from 100 supporters by the end of its digital performance season in early May.

You can get your name on the plaque by visiting the Centennial Patrons web page.