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Criterion Director Takes a Bow


After nearly two years as Executive Director of The Criterion Theatre, Heather Martin will be stepping down to pursue the completion of her Master’s degree.

1932 Criterion Theatre, beloved historic landmark of downtown Bar Harbor, has lined up a roaring summer season. Following up on a stunning 2016 season that included live opera, interactive children’s theatre, the world renown Sarasota Ballet, fantastic live music and Paula Poundstone, this year promises to be no less amazing. Barn Arts Collective is back with an interactive telling of “Pinocchio,” and will be joined in family entertainment by the ever popular Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers, and new to the Criterion stage – “Squirrel Stole My Underpants,” an award winning song and puppet production! Laszlo Gardony will return with his trio to present world-class jazz, Ian Harvie will bring his stand-up act, the opera returns, and the list of live music and singer-songwriters is being headlined by folk legend, David Crosby.

“It’s really amazing to see how passionate the community is to have the theatre back,” says Executive Director, Heather Martin. “People literally stop me on the street to say how excited they are about what’s happening there.  That’s meaningful.” Why then, in the midst of this enthusiasm and success, is Martin stepping down from her post?

“Yeah, I ask myself that too!” jokes Martin. “I absolutely love this job. I love the theatre, I love the community – and the staff are some of the best and finest I’ve ever worked with.  I love it, I do.  It’s the perfect time to hand it off.” Martin, who joined the theatre shortly after it reopened under its current nonprofit structure cites the established stability as the reason for the timing of her decision.

“There were a lot of people who had some very real doubts about the viability of the theatre, and I understood that. But what kept bubbling up through the concerns was hope!  That’s where we put our energies, into the hope, and it worked! Ideas, volunteers, donations and memberships all started coming in when folks really felt that The Criterion was once again their theatre. It has been tremendously gratifying to be a part of that.” Now, with its feet solidly under it, the theatre is ready to take its next leap forward “…and maybe get a Director with an actual theatre background!” jokes Martin, a College of the Atlantic alum with a focus in education and community organizing.

And Martin? “Ha!” she laughs, “I guess that’s what I am doing too!  Taking my next leap.” Martin, who has been working on her Master’s degree in Museum Studies through Harvard, is leaving to focus on her internship and thesis. “I’ve been working on this crazy idea of creating small, neighborhood based museums that function as multi-age, multidisciplinary learning centers.  I actually started this work at COA and shelved it for a while. I am very excited to see it take shape.”


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