Illustration by Nolan Ellsworth

Illustration by Nolan Ellsworth

February 22 & 23 and March 1, 2, 8 & 9 at 7:00 p.m and March 3 at 3:00 p.m.

Tickets $18 general admission, $15 students & seniors. Reserve at the Brown Paper Tickets link or by calling 207-200-4720.

Join the director, cast and set mural painter, artist Judy Taylor for a special post-matinee discussion on Sunday, March 3 after the performance. Open to all ticketholders for the March 3 performance, the discussion will focus on the making of this production and will be moderated by Matt Murphy.

When Maine author Monica Wood’s debut play opens, we meet Ernie Donahue, a proud and loyal man who has worked 41 of his 60 years in the local paper mill, where his father worked before him and his son now works as well. He met his wife when they were seven and still loves her dearly. Ernie is a man who keeps his feelings to himself and does not ask for much from life, but the life he has worked so hard to maintain for his family is crumbling. His wife has pancreatic cancer and the paper mill is in its fourth month of a strike that has divided the town and threatens to divide the Donahue family as well. 

How does Ernie cope with this mounting tension? He is Vice President of the local, striking union but instead of spending his time in union meetings and at the picket line, Ernie is building an ark in his backyard in fictional Abbot Falls. 

As Ernie hammers boards together in Maine, many miles away, Henry John McCoy, owner of the Abbot Falls paper mill, paces his Manhattan apartment. He is nervous about an upcoming ruling on the strike and his decision to bring in replacement workers – “scabs” – and Henry is rarely nervous. Little does he know that his only child, a daughter, is about to add to his tension by confronting him with his years of failure as a father.

These two men live worlds apart, but the story that unfolds brings them closer than they could ever imagine, as two families strive to understand both kin and strangers on both sides of the picket line. 

Wood, author of beloved books like WhenWe Were the Kennedys, grew up in Mexico, Maine, across the river from the Oxford paper mill in Rumford. Her play, and the short story from which it grew (Ernie’s Ark), were inspired by her experience of the 1986 strike in Rumford. 

New Surry Theatre brings Wood’s powerful story to life for seven performances in February and March. Papermaker stars Michael McFarland as Ernie Donahue, Leanne Nickon as Marie Donahue, Randall Simons as Henry McCoy, Cora Hutchins as Emily McCoy, Tucker Atwood as Jake Donahue and Lori Sitzabee as Nancy Letourneau. The set includes a mural painted by Judy Taylor (the Maine artist who painted the powerful Labor Mural now on display at the Maine State Museum) and fellow artists Jean Forbes, Molly O’Rourke, Nicole Desimone, Laurie Cale, Kristy Jacoby, Blake Jacoby, Chris Buchanan, Sarah Moffitt and Deborah Page. Costumes are by Elena Bourakovsky. Ark and additional set construction are by Frank John. Lighting and effects are by Frank John and Hoyt Hutchins.

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Thank you to Bay View Bakery for their lead sponsorship of Papermaker! Visit Bay View throughout the winter for delicious, warming treats.


New Surry theatre 47th Season

Season Tickets

Includes Papermaker, Little Women, The Diary of Anne Frank, Dear Elizabeth & Nunsense

General - $84, Senior – $70, Students - $68 (All a $10 savings.)

To purchase, email info@newsurrytheatre.org or call 207-200-4720 or fill out this form and send it with payment to PO Box 1597, Blue Hill, Maine 04614 and we will mail your ticket to you.


April 26 & 27 and May 3, 4, 10 & 11 at 7:00 p.m. and May 5 at 3:00 p.m. Little Women, adaptation by Thomas Hischak
Directed by Shari John

Louise May Alcott’s beloved and captivating story is brought to life in a faithful adaptation, filled with personal discovery, heartache, hope and love.

June 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22 at 7:00 p.m. and June 16 at 3:00 p.m.
Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Dindy Royster

Based on the compiled letters between poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, Sarah Ruhl expresses the beauty in simple correspondence, mapping the relationship of the two poets from first meeting to an abbreviated affair and the turmoil of their lives in between.

July 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 & 27 at 7:00 p.m. and July 21 at 3:00 p.m.
The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
Directed by Bec Poole

The powerful stage adaptation of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Otto Frank. Winner of the 1956 Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, Critics Circle Award, and virtually every other coveted prize of the theater.

August 9 - August 24 Nunsense Directed by Dindy Royster, Musical Direction by Lori Sitzabee When five of the nineteen remaining Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook accidentally killed the other 52 convent residents, they must raise money to fund the burials. As part of this effort, the nuns stage a variety show. The result is a hilarious ride for the nuns and audience members alike.

Thank you to the Davis Family Foundation, the Maine Theater Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, the Maine Arts Commission and the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation for supporting our 47th Season!