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
For over 30 years, the Theater At Monmouth has been drawing people from all over New England to see their performances in Cumston Hall. The Theater, designated in 1975 by the Maine Legislature as the Shakespearean Theater of Maine, is widely known for its dedication to excellence and commitment to great theater at affordable prices.
The Theater At Monmouth undertakes its main theater productions from June to August, performing 4-5 productions each season for 6 days per week. Summer performances total 60, with patron attendance of over 10,000. The Theater also puts on Spring and Summer performances for children which are attended by 12,000 annually.