BRUNSWICK — Maine State Music Theatre presented more than just new shows this summer.
It also opened new staff housing in a converted historic property.
Curt Dale Clark, artistic director for MSMT, said the company purchased 5 Noble St. from Bowdoin College two years ago to house several of its department heads.
The 11-bedroom, four-bath house needed extensive renovations, since it had not been used for several years.
One change was tearing down the back end of the home and “rebuilding it exactly as it was” due to requirements from the Village Review Board.
An entirely new basement floor also had to be poured because the home had no cellar.
“(The board doesn’t) want the look of (the building) to change; it looks like it was always there,” Clark said. “But the inside we could sort of do what we wanted.”
Although MSMT held a ribbon-cutting for the property Aug. 28, Clark said department heads were able to move into the front half of the building in May before the summer 2018 season.
“We made it by the hair of our chinny–chin-chin,” he said, adding the rear half was finished by moving day, but still needed to be inspected.
Late-summer arrivals were housed in the back of the home once it was ready for occupancy.
Finding housing for MSMT performers and technical workers is a feat every season, he said, because all workers are guaranteed housing in Brunswick as part of their contracts.
The company also owns two other apartment buildings in Brunswick. In the off- season, MSMT rents its housing, typically to college students or professors.
“Our housing manager plays a lot of Tetris,” Clark said.
He added when the first show of the season is open, the second one is in rehearsals, which means three apartment buildings have to be available at the same time.
The Noble Street building has been helpful, he said, because it is directly across the street from Bowdoin’s Pickard Theatre, where MSMT stages all of its shows.
“So when (staff are) at the Pickard at 4:30 in the morning they can come across here, fall into bed, and be right there,” he said. “And then I don’t have to worry about them driving.”
Clark said “in the old days” many department heads lived outside of Brunswick in Topsham or Bath or “wherever” the company could find a place to rent.
For the interior of the building, Clark had a “design team” comprised of board members that came up with the color scheme and brought suggestions to his office to approve.
New floors, windows, plumbing, electric, heat and a new roof were also installed during the renovation.
Linwood Greenleaf and Sons was the contractor for the project.
Clark said he enjoyed following the Village Review Board’s guidelines in maintaining the character of the pre-1900-era house, because he is an “antique fanatic.”
“I love the idea of preservation,” he said. “The things they wanted us to do I wanted to do anyway.”
He also said he feels like it is MSMT’s “job” to give back to the community since the public contributes so much to its “life” in town.
“We owe something back to the town of Brunswick, and I feel like this property will stabilize this residential section for many, many years to come,” he said. “It’s ours and I feel like we’re giving back to the community with this property.”
Maine State Music Theatre Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark and gardener Brownie Siegler in front of newly renovated housing at 5 Noble St. in Brunswick.
Maine State Music Theatre purchased 5 Noble St. from Bowdoin College two years ago and completed renovations to the property in May.
Board members came up with the interior design at 5 Noble St., including the color scheme for the living room.