On a little pocket of land in semi-rural Maine, there lies a haven of artistic and self expression. A place where people from all walks of life can gather to make theatre, commune with nature, and make lifelong friends. Year after year, campers and staff return to Acting Manitou because of the community that has been built on this little pocket of land. A community that is supportive and welcoming, and empathetic and caring. A community that gives everybody the space to be vulnerable and creative and artistic and unique.
A few nights ago we had our first round of elective presentations, at the end of which we gathered in a circle to share something we were grateful for that night. Most spoke of their gratitude for this community that allows them to try something new, take a risk, share a part of themselves they might have otherwise been too afraid to. We sat in what felt like an unbreakable circle of shared attitudes, interests, and goals, a circle that mirrored the one our camp is constructed on.
This is my ninth summer at Acting Manitou, my fifth as a staff member, and every year when I contemplate whether or not I will return for the next summer, I consider who I would be without this community. Who would I be without the place that taught me how to be an artist. Who would I be without the people who taught me how to be a friend. And who would I be without the community that has always given me the space to be exactly who I am. The truth is, I don’t know. I return year after year to make theatre in Maine and commune with nature. And I return year after year to be in this place with my lifelong friends, some of whom I met nearly 10 years ago, and some of whom I just met, but all of whom have made me a better person and have filled my life with incredible joy and love.