ELLSWORTH — Founded over three decades ago, New Surry Theatre this winter achieved a longstanding goal.
New Surry Theatre’s newly established performing arts school and permanent home in the Blue Hill Town Hall has brought founder Bill Raiten closer to fulfilling his longtime vision.
“With these productions we are realizing our dream to be a repertory theater,” Raiten said last week as his troupe’s most recent production of Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning comedy “Lettice and Lovage” was being performed in Blue Hill.
Founded in 1972, the New Surry Theatre was originally a theater-acting school. Two years ago, Raiten’s dream to establish a repertory theater company including experienced actors, directors, designers and others trained in theater arts as well as a year-round series of plays became more of a reality when Surry Theatre established a permanent home at the Blue Hill Town Hall. Having a permanent stage enabled Raiten and staff to formally offer more theater arts training through the New Surry Theatre Performing Arts School.
The permanent home offered not only a steady venue, but a place in which Raiten and others teach area residents acting, makeup, set design, musical theater, costume and other aspects of play production.
Raiten notes that several cast members in the “Lettice and Lovage” production, as well as backstage technicians and designers, have made their marks on local NST productions in the past.
One of two lead female roles, Lettice Douffet, is played by Cindy Robbins. Veteran NST actress Dindy Royster plays Lotte Schoen creates the role of Mr. Bardolph. Becky Poole appears as Miss Framer. Bernard Hope plays A Surly Man, and 10 others round out the cast as visitors to Fustian House, deftly setting the scene and establishing the overall tone of the play.
“We are able to offer the community a chance to see acting as people see it in New York or London. They can see one actor play many roles and not be stereotyped.”
In “Lettice and Lovage,” Robbins not only adds another role to her acting resumé, she makes her debut as a director.
Robbins took a directing class with Raiten and continues to learn from him in his role of assistant director for “Lettice and Lovage.”
The play will be staged this weekend and next and The Grand in Ellsworth.