I would like to welcome you to the Higgins-Demas Theater, home of MDI Drama. This space is named in honor of George Demas, and the late Joyce Higgins, two professionals who encouraged a generation of young people to excel in both drama and life. Please take a moment to read some thoughts from George on the past history of this facility (at the bottom of this page).
For rental policies and rates contact Student Activities Director Bunky Dow (e-mail
or phone - firstname.lastname@example.org or 288-5011 x 3327).
Casey Rush -
Director, MDI Drama
A photo of the Higgins-Demas Theater house as seen from the stage during Talk Radio,
Spring Play 2009 (Photo: Sean Keady).
was dark, it was cold and frankly eerie the first time I stepped into
this space. The core structure of the school was well underway, and
finally it was time to finagle a peek at the theater. Having gotten
into the place and with a little more light, it looked like a swimming
pool - gently sloped with water at one end - yes, water. So that was my
beginning at least. From there it got worse! The MDIHS trustees had
generously allotted money for space, but the architects didn't exactly
understand theatre. They had very practically provided a lovely ceiling
over the stage. Joyce and I really had to scurry around with officials
and engineers to "get the damned ceiling eliminated." A theater space,
after all, needs to have as much - and more - flexibility as it can. So
the cost of not having the ceiling over the stage was about three
"The theater did take shape and turned out
to be one of the stellar high school spaces in New England. We were the 'cock of the walk,' able to host other schools for drama festivals and
workshops and eventually host the New England Drama Festival. Our
theatre program was non-stop during the school year; a fall full-length
production, a musical, the one-act play in competition and a springtime
theatre class workshop production. Truly theatre was life and life was
"But bricks, mortar and steel a theater do not make.
It's people, and in this case, it's students. Educational theatre is
after all about the growth of those individuals who are involved. Our
program has been, and is, blessed with so much rich talent. At the
outset, Joyce and I vowed we would never do a show like Willy Takes His Medicine,
but only do truly challenging, culturally rich material - and so we
did - and this tradition continues to this day. Our first play was Rebel Without a Cause, the first musical My Fair Lady, and the first one-act Of Mice and Men.
There were those students who were the leads, those who performed
artfully in support, those who were simply 'walk on and exit right.' Some students were among the top academically and others used the
theatre program as their only real contact with the school, and
therefore, did not drop out. The tech people - we always had awesome
tech - did with smoke, light and mirrors what couldn't be done with
characters. So many wonderful students - nay, people - made the program
and this theater. Thanks to the school community for its support in so
"Joyce Higgins and I tried to provide growth and
opportunities for kids and inculturation to the community. In doing so,
administrators found that we were not always the easiest people to deal
with. High standards are not easy to achieve and even more difficult to
maintain. We always told students that we were 'never any better than
our next performance.'
"So the tradition was begun, and
continues, through discovery, fun and dedication to hard work and
teamwork. It's one thing to have one's name on a plaque on a wall; it
is indeed gratifying to know that our efforts were but a prologue to
the continuation of the thespian challenge."
-- George Demas, for myself and the late Joyce Higgins
MDI Drama director Casey Rush presents MDI Drama co-founder George Demas with a section of the original curtain from the Higgins-Demas Theater stage at this year's Bravo Awards (photo by Chris Dougherty).