MDI Drama Program and Production History
I started researching the history of MDI Drama in 2012 after a long conversation with several very active and long-time drama participants. None of them had any idea about the early history of the drama program at our school; in fact, few of them could even name the productions that had immediately preceded their involvement. Mount Desert Island High School boasts a deep and rich theatrical tradition which continues to this day, and for it, in the eyes of our current thespians, to fade into obscurity, to simply become so much stuff that happened a long time before they were involved in the program –- or even born –- is a shame.
Much of the information about the early years of the drama program is derived from a review of the (mostly complete) collection of MDIHS yearbooks housed in the school's library. Often, however, it is unclear which non-musical shows were presented as one act competition or full length productions. In addition to this, the yearbooks don't seem to specify the titles of or include details about all MDIHS productions that may have occurred in a given year. Some editions only provide a collage or two of production/performance photos and no accompanying show information at all. For the sake of consistency, if only one non-musical production is named in the yearbook I have recorded it, perhaps inaccurately, as the competition one act. Also, it is not always clear who was the director of productions from the George Demas/Joyce Higgins years. In all instances in which there is no clear contradictory information available I have drawn the conclusion that George Demas served as director.
In addition to these difficulties, eight of the program's ten state championship plaques are nowhere to be found on our campus, nor were they around when I arrived in August 1998. We do have many of the regional championship/finalist trophies, but probably not all. Sadly, the Maine Drama Council has very little available information available regarding past champions or participants in the New England Drama Festival, so that is not a deep source of information that I may utilize. My best resource is the collective memory and collected memorabilia of the countless actors, techs and staff members who have participated in the program over the past fifty years.
My ultimate goal is to create a webpage on MDIDRAMA.ORG for each production that features cast and crew info, the original program if available and production photos. In the fall of 2021 I was dealt a setback when Google discontinued their classic sites, which I had used to create our second program website, and I have had to create this third version of our website pretty much from scratch. Please send additional production information, competition results, programs (.pdf), photos (.jpg, .gif, etc.) and/or updates and corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org. The more specific the information provided, especially with production/performance photos, the better.
I would like to wish a special thanks to the following MDIHS and/or MDI Drama alumni and staff for their input and ongoing assistance with this effort:
Frank Bachman, Burt Barker, Melissa King Burkart, Brooke Richardson Cahilly, Laurie Carpenter, Ryan Corliss, Chrystine Weymouth Emeigh, Diana Faust, Charlene Garrison, Nancy E. Graves, Kate Good-Smith, Angel Hochman, Matt Hochman, Tammie Butler Hooper, Emily Johnson, Joe Lewis, Robin MacDuffie, Richard E. MacPike, Peter Miller, Joe Marshall, Rob Marshall, Susan Taylor, Anna Smith, Darci Smith, Mark Smith, Michelle Solomon, Dan Stillman, Larry Sweet, Jennifer Knudsen Tully, Sheila Wilensky and Sam Worden.
Special thanks to Thomas Heath of the Maine Drama Council for sharing his compilation of the history of the Maine Drama Festival.
Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or through our Facebook program pages to share verifiable program info of which I may not be aware.
Casey Rush, MDI Drama Director
First, some pre-MDIHS history: Prior to the opening of Mount Desert Island High School in 1968, two former Mount Desert Island high school drama programs won Maine State One Act honors:
In 1954, Bar Harbor High School represented Maine at the New England Drama Festival hosted in Sanford, ME, with Albert Weymouth Jr.'s state runner-up production of The Critic by Val Clark.
In 1941, Pemetic High School's production of Robert Nail's Antic Spring by came in second at the state competition at Bowdoin College. The cast, under the direction of Thurlie Additon, represented the state of Maine at the New England Festival in South Portland, ME. More information about this production is available from this page from the 1941 Pemetic High School Yearbook.
Maine Drama Festival - State One Act Champion
1969 1971 1972 1974 1977 1978 1983 1996 2017 2018
Maine Drama Festival - State One Act Runner-Up
Maine Drama Festival - Regional One Act Champion/Finalist
1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1976 1977 1978 1979 1981 1982 1983 1984 1988 1989 1994 1995 1996 1997 2000 2006 2010 2011 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2020 2022 2023
The MDI Drama State Championship banner on the front of the tech booth in the Higgins-Demas Theater, May 2018. Photo: Matt Hochman
When I arrived at MDIHS in 1998, all of our regional trophies were in cabinets in the back of the Higgins-Demas Theater, but the championship plaques from before my time were nowhere to be found. MDI Drama would like to thank Student Activities Director Bunky Dow for ordering replacement State Championship plaques for our first eight championships: 1969, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1983 and 1996. These are now displayed with our 2017 and 2018 championship plaques outside of the theater entrance. Photo: Casey Rush
Seasons with incomplete listings:
1980-1981, 1981-1982, 1985-1986, 1988-1989, 1989-1990, 1992-1993, 1993-1994
Updated: 6 June 2023