The Reach Performing Arts Center is proud to announce the new director, Morgan Witham. Morgan’s energy and enthusiasm are infectious and inspiring.
Esther Adams interviewed Morgan:
Tell us a little about yourself...
I grew up on Little Deer and attended DI-S through my sophomore year (1996) then made the difficult decision to transfer to the Maine School for Science and Mathematics- a decision made in large part because MSSM had a theater program and ready access to dance and voice lessons, and a strong community theater in Caribou. After graduating high school, I went to Grinnell College, where I earned my BA in Theater. After two years of graduate coursework in American and New England Studies at USM, I served a two year Americorps term in the Isle au Haut school.
What are some of your favorite theatre moments?
I was lucky enough to be cast at the Grand as Little Red Riding Hood in my all-time favorite musical, Into the Woods. Maria, in The Sound of Music, was also a dream role. Growing up, I used to go out and perform the title song on my parent’s septic field, which happened to be the highest point of our property. So to come back to Deer Isle as an adult, and to play the role with Cabin Fever (on a real stage! with lights! and an orchestra!) was pretty unbelievable. When I was a kid, there was no RPAC; the Opera House was still abandoned.
What are some of your hopes and dreams for the REACH?
I will definitely work with the foundations that Nelson put into place- I hope to maintain the strong program in the elementary school and to continue building the capacity of Cabin Fever. My big dream is to develop stronger programming in the high school. Theater can teach so much about collaboration, respect, responsibility, artistic and intellectual risk-taking, and developing confidence that it really needs to be available to students making the transition to adulthood. I want to help high school students fall in love with the work of theater. I would also like to collaborate with other arts organizations on the island. I hope there’s a lot of opportunity to work in cahoots. My own childhood was richer for time spent at Seamark, Haystack, Sue’s School of Dance, and (the summer after I graduated from college) the Opera House, so I definitely look forward to joining that community and learning from them as an arts educator.
What are you looking forward to doing the most as the new Director?
I am looking forward to discovering the position, getting into the work itself. It is well and good to have the bullet list of the job description and have ideas about what I might do, but until I can roll up my sleeves and get to work with teachers, students, and community members, it’s just so much brainstorming. Right now I am like a student who has been handed the syllabus to The Best Course Ever, but has to wait a while before the semester starts.