Deer Isle is fortunate to have an outstanding community and cultural resource in the Stonington Opera House. As a visitor to our island, you’ll have ample opportunity to enjoy theater, music, movies, and more. This creative venue is found in a historic building in downtown Stonington, Maine. It not only offers cultural events, but serves as an important community resource through its community and education programs.
When you’re planning a trip to our area, be sure to check out the theater’s upcoming shows. For more information on artistic endeavors to enjoy on Deer Isle, access our complimentary Vacation Guide!
Stonington Opera House Architectural History
The Stonington Opera House was built in 1912 and celebrates a century of community history, arts, and events. The building was originally constructed in 1886 as a music and dance hall. It was later expanded from its original and current location to Main Street, with additional balconies and a scene tower. This expansion burned to the ground in 1910, the night that the first fire hydrants were operational in Stonington. The rest of the town was spared. The Stonington Opera House was then rebuilt by Renaissance man Dr. B. Lake Noyes. At this point, it seated only 250 people in folding chairs.
The Legacy & the Present
Since its inception, the Stonington Opera House has served many community purposes. The theater has been host to vaudeville, Chautauqua performances, plays, high school graduations, dances, and basketball games. After 1918, it was also issued a license to show movies, a tradition that has continued to this day. In the 1960s, the seats were removed and the Stonington Opera House was used as a roller skating rink.
Almost two decades later, it was bought and restored from weather damage. In its final ownership transition in 1999, the Stonington Opera House was occupied by Opera House Arts. This non-profit organization was established specifically to restore the building to its original purpose as an epicenter for the community. Now, the Stonington Opera House functions once again as a staple for theater, music, dance, film, and other community events!
Stonington Opera House Shows & Events
Performances and events run throughout the year at the playhouse. Opera House Arts upcoming events include series such as Improv Acadia, LIVE! FOR $5, and OHA’s (free) family days. This summer is the Opera House’s 20th anniversary season, and they are proud to present acts such as the clowns of Happenstance and several feature films during these warm months. Stay tuned for the Stonington Opera House calendar for all of their summertime performances!
Educational Programs at the Opera House
The Stonington Opera House is foremost a community center, serving as a base for Opera House Arts events and programs. Many of these are educational programs aiming to improve the town and instigate the arts.
The Young Horizon program offers Stonington’s youngest citizens the opportunity to take the stage! Their performances often shadow international shows. Children ages 6-12 are welcome to audition. At curtain call, the Opera House invites the community to applaud these young people as they showcase their hard work. Additionally, Voice 2 Voice gives kids grades 5-8 the opportunity to express themselves through poetry. The annual contest selects finalists from local elementary schools for an Opera House evening event. Students read their submissions on stage and are joined by a guest poet for a night of talent and art.
Stay at Pilgrim’s Inn!
From its history to its current support of arts and the community, the Stonington Opera House is a must-see venue during your visit to Deer Isle. Enjoy the arts and culture, and when you’re ready to wind down, come back to Pilgrim’s Inn. Our cozy accommodations and scenic landscape will keep you immersed in Downeast Maine’s rich culture.