Belfast Maskers receive Belvedere Historic Preservation, Maine Theater grants
BELFAST — The Belfast Maskers nonprofit theater group has received $13,000 from the Belvedere Historic Preservation and Energy Efficiency Grant program. The funds will be used to help the Maskers insulate the Basil Burwell Community Theater, affectionately called the “Bazz,” which is in the former Universalist Church on Court Street.
Earlier this year, the theater group purchased the church, which dates to 1839, and has spent the last few months settling into the first dedicated home it has had in nearly a decade.
"This grant from the Belvedere Fund covers much of the cost of insulating the Maskers’ new theater space. We are thrill to be one step closer to offer a comfortable, versatile year-round performing arts venue,” said Maskers board member Erica Rubin Irish, in a news release.
The Belvedere Historic Preservation and Energy Efficiency Grant program invests in the preservation, restoration, and retrofitting of historic buildings in Maine. Grants from this fund focus on capital investments in historic buildings that serve as civic, cultural, or economic hubs for communities.
All proposed projects must be for historic buildings listed in or determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
The Basil Burwell Community Theater meets the qualification for funding because it is located in the Historic District of downtown Belfast and owned by the Maskers, a 501c3 nonprofit theater company.
Additionally, the Maskers also recently received a $5,000 grant from the Maine Theater Fund to build raked seating in the Bazz, which should allow audiences to better enjoy performances there. The goal of the Maine Theater Fund is to strengthen and sustain theater performance throughout the state.
“Raked seating, with seats on higher tiers toward the back of the house, means that every seat is a good seat. This support from the Maine Theater Fund confirms that we are on the right track toward creating a unique small theater in the heart of Belfast,” Rubin Irish said in the release.
For more than 30 years, the Belfast Maskers have produced fully staged plays and musicals and offered performing arts education for all ages.
The next show is A Christmas Story The Musical, which is based on the 1983 holiday movie classic and which will run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9.
For more information and tickets visit the Belfast Maskers' website www.belfastmaskers.com.