The Friends of the REACH Steering Committee - made up of Deer Isle-Stonington Schools faculty, teachers and students, as well as community members - work to assist the Director in fulfilling the mission of the Reach Performing Arts Center.
MARION AUSTIN, co-chair
When Marion first came to Deer Isle in 1992 from NYC, she was hooked by this place that is like no other place in the world. It took a couple of attempts but she finally moved here permanently in 1998. This was the beginning of a long relationship with the students at our island schools and more importantly the Reach Performing Arts Center as a teacher, a parent, a house manager, an occasional actor and even an interim Reach Director for 6 months. There is nothing than she and her husband Peter Friedell like more than watching their daughters Amy and Kate perform on this inspiring stage.
SUSAN STEED, secretary
Susan Steed has been a friend of the Reach since advocating for a designated performing arts space while serving on the school design committee. Since then she has been honored to serve as producer for Cabin Fever Theater productions and many student productions. Some favorite memories at the Reach include helping to costume and wrangle 50 Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz,
performing Tradition with over 40 “mamas” in Cabin Fever’s Fiddler on the Roof, and laughing with Nelson Monteith and the flabbergasted cast as her dog, Kirby, announced his arrival at the first Annie rehearsal by relieving himself onstage and then launching himself into Nelson’s arms. She has seen the power of the theater to change students’ lives and remains firmly committed to the Reach and its activities as secretary of the Friends of the Reach Steering Committee.
Caleb Hardie is a Deer Isle-Stonington High School Graduate of 2019. In his high school career, Caleb participated in eight productions with the Reach. Caleb’s most memorable role was in Cyrano De Bergerac where he played the lead role of Cyrano. In his time at the Reach he received three all-state acting awards in ensemble work at the Maine Drama Festival, was inducted into the National Thespian Honors Society and received the Nelson Monteith Scholarship. After high school Caleb went on to Eastern Maine Community College where he received a certificate for Culinary and Restaurant Management. After three years, Caleb returned to the Reach as assistant director of Elektra, the 2022 selection for the Maine Drama Festival. Caleb has always thought of the Reach Performing Arts Center as his second home, referring to it as his original stomping grounds. Caleb is excited to be a member of the Friends of The Reach.
Loring Kydd joined the Reach Performing Arts Board due to his long interest in the Arts and his desire to assist in generating funds for its annual operation and needed auditorium improvements. He is a deep believer that The Reach is an important part of our island culture.
Kelly Johnson is a community engagement professional, writer, fundraiser and public speaker. In 2012, she received from American University her MA in Public History, with a concentration in cultural history in the United States. She has worked in nonprofit development and engagement for the last seven years. As a strong believer that communities of artists can effect real change in the world, she is the creator of the annual Writers For Hope Auction, benefiting survivors of sexual violence.
Emily Wendell is a teacher, mother of two, outdoor enthusiast, and supporter of the arts. She has been teaching at the Deer Isle- Stonington Elementary School since 2006, spending time as a fourth-grade teacher, the K-12 librarian, and now a first-grade teacher. Before her time in education, Emily was a sea kayak guide in Bar Harbor and as a young adult she traveled a fair bit, working various seasonal jobs. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Maine at Orono and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Davidson College. Her stepson and now her own two daughters have been very active in theater at the Reach. Emily sees the value of the performing arts firsthand and enjoys working to support the niche that Reach offers at our island schools.