The Belfast Maskers is an organization for the performing arts, devoted to a wide range of creative and challenging theater for the education and enjoyment of the community of both participants and audience members. We serve both educational and social needs by embracing people of all ages and experience levels, learning from doing and learning from each other. Inspired and organized by retired theater teacher Basil Burwell, Maskers had its first production in 1987. In 1990 the group was incorporated as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit business. Located on Belfast’s waterfront and supported by a long-term lease from the City, Maskers consistently offers five to seven productions per year. More than 1,500 volunteers have participated in productions, many highly skilled professionals, others as a first time experience. All who wish to join this collaborate effort are welcome.
Over the years Maskers and its volunteers have received much recognition from the broader community. This includes the 1996 Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Outstanding Citizen Award” to founder Basil Burwell, followed in 2003 by the Chamber’s “Business of the Year Award”. 2007, Maskers’ 20th Anniversary, brought two awards. First, the City Council declared July 26th “Belfast Maskers Day” in recognition of “…the contributions of Belfast Maskers Theater to the City of Belfast”. The second, presented to then President of the Board Lilias Outerbridge, was a proclamation of thanks from the Maine Senate and House of Representatives for “…bringing edifying culture…to our great state,” referring to her work with Maskers and the organization’s impact on the community.
Maskers has always been committed to a wide range of shows, appealing to a broad audience. Since 1987, Maskers has produced more than 135 shows including an annual production with and for youths, over 20 classics, and at least 10 full-scale musicals. The remaining productions include a mixture of drama and comedy, old favorites as well as current shows. The summer of 2011 brought Maskers fifth outdoor musical performed in Steamboat Landing Park overlooking the harbor.