Help us achieve our goal to make GAYLA Theatre a year-round destination
for Culture & the Arts in Southern Maine.
for Culture & the Arts in Southern Maine.
We have already done some of the work:
but we have more to do!
As we open up our campus to year-round mission driven programming, we are looking to upgrade the GAYLA Theater with new lights, sound and projection system, new chairs, a heating and air conditioning system and insulation underneath the building. We would like to make the public spaces available for at least three of the four seasons. We envision being able to host more groups and organizations, musicians, poets and more!
We have raised just over half the funds to complete this project, and started the work - but there is more to do! We still need to upgrade the theatre lighting, sound and projection systems, replace the stage floor, and insulate the building to conserve energy.
A little history on our beloved Rowland Hall:
Increasing numbers of class groups, and the substantial number of delegates being sent by organizations starting in 1919, drew attention to the inadequacy of the educational facilities provided by the Ferry Beach Park Association ...a special committee had been set up at the 1925 annual meeting (at the suggestion of the Ladies Aid Association) to raise $5000 for badly needed extension of facilities.
In 1927 the building opened in the spring of 1927…the new building was named Rowland Hall honoring William Ruthven Rowland, M.D., who was president of the Association from 1919 until his death in 1925.
A mortgage of $10,000 was placed upon the property in order to finance the construction of the building. The contractor’s bill was $14,561.70. Furnishings and incidental expenses were $1745.52. Up to the time when the final payment clearing the mortgage was made on April 2, 1936, the interest charges had totaled $4784.83. This made the total cost of the building approximately $21,000… The two-story structure has a large assembly hall with a stage and two classrooms on the first floor. Dormitory quarters for 35 persons occupied the second floor.”
The opening of Rowland Hall in 1927 brought an extra-large number of visitors to Ferry Beach to rejoice in this long-needed facility.
Since that time, Ferry Beach has hosted thousands of people in the “large assembly hall.” You may have chuckled or watched in admiration: your friends, spouse, children, grandchildren and others perform in a TNT show. You may have been inspired at a chapel service there or by a performing artist who had graced the stage.
If you have been in the theater with a large crowd in the summer time, you know how hot it gets. If you have tried to take pictures, or wanted to share a slide show, you know there are challenges with the lighting. If you are a musician, you know that the sound in the room is difficult to get just right. If you have sat for longer than a few minutes in there, you know how uncomfortable the chairs are!
As we open up our campus to year-round mission driven programming, we are going to upgrade the GAYLA Theater with new lights, sound and projection system, new chairs, a heating and air conditioning system and insulation underneath the building. We have already spent over $35,000 addressing life safety needs in Rowland but those changes are not noticeable if you are not looking. We would like to make the auditorium usable year-round. We envision being able to host more groups and organizations, musicians, poets and more!
The building of Rowland Hall in 1927 opened Ferry Beach to more people. It seems fitting that 91 years later, a renovation of that same auditorium would do that again. In the past year we have hosted a national conference of poets and songwriters, the Maine State Chapter of Al-Anon, the Maine Trans Network and Equality Maine, just to name a few groups in addition to the many conferences, workshops and churches who use the space during the summertime.
Gifts in the past created the Cross Cottage, the DeWolfe Dining Hall and the Metz Village. We are now in the black and haven’t touched our endowment or line of credit in more than 5 years!
Your gift will help to create a space in which we can welcome new people as well as provide comfort to many of us who love this auditorium! Please consider making a donation today!