When the Reach Performing Arts Center first opened in 2001, Nelson Monteith came on as its first director. After a three year break in China, Monteith came back to the Reach for another two years, and will retire from education at the end of June.
Monteith began his career in Arts education as the vocal music teacher in Waterville in 1968, followed by another five years in Camden in the same position. After ten years of teaching in Maine, Monteith accepted a job at the Community School in Teheran, Iran. It wasn’t the best of times to take a job in Iran, and after four months on the job, the school closed and Monteith headed for Europe. In the fall of 1979 he became the Fine Arts Director of the Antwerp International School in Belgium, where he taught music, drama and art at various times during the nineteen years of his tenure there. In his second year as Reach Director, Monteith founded the Cabin Fever Theater Company and was instrumental in the establishment of the Island Arts Camp.
“After forty-three years in education,’’ Monteith says, ‘’it’s time to move on and leave the work to younger professionals with a lot more energy than I seem to have these days.’” While remembering his time here, Monteith continues, ” My years on the island have been good ones. Working in one of the best theater facilities in the State of Maine is certainly a fine way for a Maine ‘county boy’ to end a long career in arts education. The Reach Performing Arts Center is a wonderful gift to the island from the generous group of donors who built the facility. I thank those donors and those who have continued to support the growth of the Reach and its programming for the island’s children. I hope that the Reach continues to grow and provide opportunities and activities for island students and community members that continue to make The Reach a part of their lives.”
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