Heartwood Theater presents a free online event, celebrating the arts, winter and Christmas, with 30 performers from both near and far. No tickets, no fees, no registration. Simply click “A Heartwood Christmas Letter” on heartwoodtheater.org, anytime between Dec. 11 and Jan. 3.

“As we approach Christmas and the new year, we wanted to send the community a Christmas Letter; we figured this would save a little on postage,” said Director Griff Braley. “We're excited to provide a medium which unites performers and audience in spirit, with poetry read aloud, songs given voice, and small ensembles at play, breathing life into words and images. While we expect to return to LIVE theater, this online connection helps fill the gap for us all.”

Audiences will enjoy reconnecting with some popular young actors who have performed with Heartwood over the past several years, along with many familiar faces from closer to home – some reaching back to early years at Heartwood, some currently enrolled middle and high school students and college age performers, who represent Heartwood’s ongoing educational programming.

Because dining and theater dovetail so deliciously, Heartwood is partnering with King Eider’s Pub and the Damariscotta River Grill & Prep Kitchen, to encourage restaurant business and double the pleasure for audience. On Dec. 11 and 12, mention Heartwood’s online event when placing a to-go order (any time of day) and receive a 10% purchase discount.

Under the direction of Griff Braley and Technical Director Ryan Kohnert, most pieces were recorded in Heartwood’s studio, rounded out with self-recorded pieces from distant performers. Of this move to filming, Braley explains, “While we have incorporated the modern convergence of film and video in our productions since 2005, a full shift to this medium demands a steep learning curve for all, stepping beyond our comfort zone. The technological implications are multitudinous; unlike a live production, in which technical elements serve to support the creative aesthetic, here they are the method of delivery. In a unique way, film demands actors’ attention in a sharp, focused moment, permanently captured. There is no immediate give and take and energy exchange, between audience and actors, no chance to ‘get it right, tomorrow night!’ Rather daunting, for actors bravely stepping before the camera, some for the first time.”

For a full cast list and playbill, visit heartwoodtheater.org.

Generous sponsors include Bath Savings Institution (Season Sponsor), HM Payson (Online Streaming Sponsor), Dow Furniture (Show Sponsor) and Program Sponsor (First National Wealth Management). Special thanks to Ryan Kohnert, Technical Director.