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Performing arts in Unity, Maine

marquis at Unity College Centre for Performing Arts
marquis at Unity College Centre for Performing Arts
photography by Robin Wood

Tens of thousands of fair goers flock to Unity, Maine every September for the Common Ground Fair.  If that is the only time you make your way to Unity, however, you are squandering endless opportunities for cultural, musical, intellectual, and artistic enrichment.

The Unity Centre for Performing Arts is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  Thanks to the vision and enormous generosity of philanthropists Bert and Coral Clifford, the Centre opened on December 8, 2000 with all 200 seats in the beautiful new performance space filled with enthusiastic supporters.  In 2007 the Cliffords donated the Centre to Unity College.  It is now known as the Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts, or UCCPA.

The performance theater is only one impressive aspect of the renovated 100 year old barn and farmhouse.  There is also an art gallery space, reception area, conference room, banquet hall, and beautiful exterior grounds.  In addition to musical events there are film series, lectures, and other eclectic events throughout the year, as well as the opportunity for corporate or private event rentals.

There are a lot of terrific shows coming up, especially once the school year gets under way once more in September.  Artists and performers from all over the globe have brought their talents to Unity, where they have never shied away from creativity and variety in their offerings.  This year's schedule of performers will be no exception.

Thursday is Celtic night.  This summer and fall there will be Celtic bands performing every Thursday evening at 7:30.

In the art gallery there are rotating exhibits to wander through while you wait for the shows to begin.  This month there is a whimsical and charming art show in place featuring works by Ken Cleaves, a local artist who works in wood and fiber. 

UCCPA director, John Sullivan, was busy at his computer when I visited, working on lining up even more depth to the already exciting fall schedule.  "Right now I'm sending an email to Sean Lennon," he told me with a smile.  He hopes that Lennon will be coming in late November, so stay tuned.

For information about upcoming events, go to or contact John Sullivan at


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I am always glad to hear from anyone in mid-Maine with ideas ofr this column. Send in your suggestions, and I'll share the stories of the many-sided people and places of Maine.
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