Opera House Arts (OHA) and the OHA Community Advisory Board are proud to announce the launch of a new play-reading series: SeaTimes Stories. The first reading, WinterTime, will be performed Thursday, March 14, at 7 p.m. at the Stonington Opera House. Tickets are $5, and island students get in free.
The event will feature more than 20 stories of winters in Deer Isle and Stonington, as remembered and told by those who lived it “way back when.” Community members begin rehearsals this week, led by Amanda Larrabee and Judith Jerome, with 22 readers from ages 11 to 80.
In 1986, Deer Isle-Stonington teachers Darcy Campbell and Mary Rees-Nutter combined their English and Social Studies curriculum and began an oral history project with the 8th grade class. Classroom time was spent educating the students on the concept and process of collecting oral histories. Each student then went out into the community with school-issued tape recorders in hand and sat at the kitchen tables of their grandparents and neighbors, capturing the stories of days-gone-by. With written permission from the interviewees, and careful attention to detail, these stories were transcribed word for word, edited only for clarity, typed, printed, and spiral bound, and thus SeaTimes was born. 250 published copies of the first edition were sold for $4 apiece.
For the next 10 years this cultural journalism project recorded the voices and remembrances of nearly 300 people, most of them islanders, most of them now gone.
This past December, the Community Advisory Board took an interest in the project’s legacy, and collected the 10 volumes of SeaTimes (published as five books) from the school. Upon the discovery that the earliest edition was missing from the school’s collection, many answered the call on Facebook, and a complete set of SeaTimes was reunited.
The readers in the performance will tell the tales of deep snow, frozen harbors, sledding and sleigh rides as remembered by May Williams, Andrew Leali, Rebecca Knight, Robert McCloskey, Olive Rice, John and Beryl Powers, Ethelbert Morey, Evelyn Jones, and many more. It’s an event for the whole family!