The Lewiston/Auburn community has provided Bates with countless modes of entertainment, delicious dining, and opportunities for current students and alumni. Two recent events highlight just how strong and impactful the relationship is between Batesies and the surrounding area: the closing of Guthries Independent Theater, and the new managing position given to Guenevere Figueroa – part of the class of 2015 – at The Public Theater in Lewiston.
She Doesn’t Like Guthries, commonly referred to as Guthries, is a restaurant and café with an attached independent theater located near downtown Lewiston, and is quite popular with the Bates community. The sad news of the theater closing was announced on their website via newsletter on September 2nd. The owners stated, “It has been an exciting journey for all of us here at Guthries, from hosting small, independent films to large community events and from intimate company meetings to retirement parties. Unfortunately, the needs of the theater proved not to be viable at this time.”
Mary Anne Bodnar ’16 was an avid supporter of the theater. She commented, “Every person I’ve mentioned the theater closing to at Bates remarks on how sad it is, but then immediately mentions that they only ever went once or twice. It felt like a culturally important part of the city that Bates students wish they had more time to enjoy.”
In their announcement, the owners expressed their sincere gratitude, stating that there remains a “glimmer of hope though that the theater may continue in another incarnation. Over the course of the last several months several interested parties have begun exploring other ways to possibly continue the theme and mission of the theater space.”
At The Public Theater in Lewiston, Bates graduate Guen Figueroa ’15 was recently given the position as company manager for this season. She will be working with the theater until the end of May. At Bates, she was heavily involved with the theater department, mainly doing production work for the dance performances. That being said, she is thrilled to further her knowledge in strictly theater and experience all aspects of the equity theater environment.
“I immediately felt like an integral part of the team: I have already been making publicity calls, painting the theatre, going to meetings, and I’m propsmaster for our first show,” she exclaimed.
Although it doesn’t happen often, some Bates grads return to the Lewiston community after graduating to immerse themselves back into the environment they have become familiar with. However, being outside of the Bates community can be a completely different experience.
“After living in the Bates bubble for four years it can be difficult to fully appreciate the surrounding L/A area. I am currently nestled in the heart of Downtown Auburn with a view of the falls right outside my window,” Guen said. “I’m finding the L/A community to be thriving with individuals that want to bring art and opportunity back to the area. It is wonderful to be a part of that demographic that is trying to change the first impression of the city.”
Figueroa is currently living in housing provided for the actors and will be sharing the space with professionals from New York when they come to work with the theater. She is “excited to make those connections.”