About Cumston Hall
Cumston Hall is one of the crown jewels of Maine. To the chance passerby it comes as a startling surprise, towering dramatically over Main Street. Its exquisite stained glass windows and asymmetrical design capture the imagination. Theater enthusiasts from all over New England know the hall as the home to the Theater At Monmouth, Maine’s Shakespearean theater. But for Monmouth’s residents, regular visitors and longtime friends, Cumston Hall is more than a remarkable building or intimate theater- it represents the heart and center of the Town of Monmouth.
An Historic Landmark
Listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings since 1976, Cumston Hall is a valued architectural gem. While Dr. Charles M. Cumston donated the funds for the building to the Town of Monmouth in 1899, it has always been a gift shared with the community at large.
Dr. Cumston commissioned Harry Cochrane, an accomplished painter, writer, composer and musician, to design the building. Cochrane’s design transformed Cumston’s vision for a town hall into a grand building, with an opera hall, library, caucus room and town office all in one. Cumston Hall was built in just one year at a cost of $20,000. Well ahead of its time in amenities, the building boasted indoor plumbing and, at Dr. Cumston’s insistence, was lighted by electricity – the first building in Monmouth with this convenience.
The building’s architecture is a mix of a Romanesque style of asymmetrical columns and towers and varying external textures of the Queen Anne period. The building is decorated throughout with plaster ornamentation, beautifully crafted exterior and interior wood trim, and hand stenciled ceilings. The 250-seat opera hall features elaborate plaster carvings, and a fresco mural ceiling. More than 100 stained glass windows adorn the Hall.
The Heart and Center of Monmouth, Maine
Residents of Monmouth value Cumston Hall as a vital community resource. We’ve watched our children grow within its walls: performing in school plays, attending girl scout meetings, and celebrating graduations. We’ve enjoyed many exciting theatrical performances in Cumston Hall’s intimate theater. Since the opening of Cumston Hall a century ago, all of the town’s most important events and meetings have been held here.
Cumston Public Library
Cumston Hall houses the Cumston Public Library. The library, open five days a week, has over 2,000 registered library patrons and a collection of nearly 17,000 items with an annual circulation of nearly 24,000-significant usage for a small town library. Throughout the year, the library offers many activities and events, including a children’s story time, children’s summer activities, and special programs for home-schooled patrons. Over 1,500 children attend programs provided by the library. The library has actively reaches out to the Monmouth public schools, local day care centers, and the homes of senior patrons unable to visit the library.
The Theater at Monmouth
Theater at Monmouth (TAM) is a year-round, professional, community-based, arts organization providing access to engaging arts experiences and promoting the value of the arts in Maine.
Founded in 1970, TAM was named the Shakespeare Theatre of Maine by the State Legislature in 1975.
TAM’s mission is to present innovative approaches to Shakespeare and other classic plays through productions that enrich the lives of people throughout.
Since its founding, TAM has produced expertly crafted, engaging productions in its four-month Summer Repertory Season entertaining audiences from 36 states and through Education & Engagement programs annually reaching more than 15,000 students statewide. TAM is one of the oldest professional theaters in the United States, located in one of the nation’s smallest communities to host a professional theater. Monmouth, Maine is home to a remarkable 120-year-old Victorian Opera House that was deeded to the people of town. The building includes a 250-seat, jewel-box theater with exceptional acoustics. Monmouth is within an hour’s drive of more than 60% of Maine’s population. An average audiences travels from more than 40 miles to attend productions and education programs reach every corner of Maine. As the only professional theatre in Maine dedicated to Shakespeare and the classics, TAM is a critical contributor to the cultural life of the state. In 2019 TAM celebrates its 50th anniversary.