The Theater at Monmouth

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If you’re in the vicinity of Fast Eddie’s (see previous post), don’t miss The Theater at Monmouth, a.k.a. the Shakespearean theater of Maine. It’s a double treat.

This classic, professional theater stages five productions in repertory each summer, with at least two being works by the bard. It also stages a spring children’s production and a fall Gilbert and Sullivan production; this year that’s The Mikado.

What makes it all the more special is the building. One simply doesn’t expect to stumble upon an architectural gem like Cumston Hall in a rural community like Monmouth. Designed in 1899 by multi-talented local artist Harry Hayman Cochrane and completed in 1900, Cumston is asymmetrical work of art. It’s adorned with more than 100 stained glass windows and dominated by a four-story Romanesque tower.

While the exterior is magnificent, the interior, also designed by Cochrane, is stunning. In the theater, allegorical figures representing tragedy, comedy, music and dance are painted in heavenly scenes on three panels on the vaulted ceiling. Like the surfaces of the arches and parapets, the ceiling is ornamented with plaster relief. In its center is an oculus. Truly, it’s spectacular.

Worth cruising over from Fast Eddie’s to see; even better, plan to attend The Mikado.