Our History-The Beginning

Windham Center Stage Theater came into being in 1974. Harry Gray was visiting Frank Brautigum and he was relaying the history of a theatre group he led in Canada. Mr. Gray said he had been toying with the idea of such a group in Windham, and he said, "Do you think we could?"

They put a notice of an organizational meeting in the paper and thirty people showed up. Mr. Brautigum was elected president and Mr. Gray served as treasurer. They drafted the first set of by-laws with the help of Leslie Clark. The first production was called Downeast Potpurri. It appears to have been a variety show of sorts and they ran $1500 into debt. There is no record of this first production in the archive. The second president was Thomas Gerringer and he was followed by Harry L. Gray III (Mr. Gray's son). The oldest program in the archives is for The Apple Tree. The play was performed at St. Joseph's College on February 28 and March 1, 1975. Tickets were only $2.50. 

A grand opening celebration was held on March 18, 1978, to commemorate Windham Community Theater's move into the Community Center. In 1985, WCST acquired the use of the space in the garage. 

Saving the Community Center

WCST's archives contain the first official newsletter from July 1976 in which Harry Gray III is listed as president. This newsletter includes an urge to vote "yes" on a referendum to save the old Junior High School, which was to become the Community Center. Windham Center Stage Theater was very proactive in saving the building for use by the theater, as well as the many other community activities it could and does house. 

Awards

On April 27, 2005, Kane and Kate Loukas of Youth Alternatives presented an award on behalf of the Cumberland County Child Abuse and Neglect Council at a luncheon at the Regency Hotel in Portland. This award was presented to WCST for its contributions to the youth and families of Windham and the surrounding areas. Reigning President, Mary Wassick, and board members, Barb Stauble and Dawn Sample accepted the award.