Higgins-Demas Theater Information

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 - bdow@mdirss.org or 288-5011 x 3327).


Casey Rush - Director, MDI Drama

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A photo of the Higgins-Demas Theater house as seen from the stage during Talk Radio
Spring Play 2009 (Photo: Sean Keady).





"It 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 thousand dollars.

"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 theatre.

"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 many ways.

"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).

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