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Theater Company with Strong Ties to Bennington Makes Headlines

Feb 03, 2009

A theater company built by Bennington alumni made headlines in The New York Times recently for revitalizing a 78-year-old theater in Peekskill, New York.

As company-in-residence at the storied Paramount Center for the Arts, The Mighty Theater, founded by Jim Cairl '98 and Allison Mitchell '97, has put on a string of sold-out performances and started a community outreach program that's grown popular with local residents.

"We want to be a professional theater in the community and of the community," Mitchell told The Times. "Not just a community theater."

When Cairl and Mitchell decided to start the company in early 2007, they knew they wouldn't need to look far for talent.

They had just performed a play written by Mickle Maher '96 in a small Manhattan theater, and, encouraged by its success, "We decided to make a go of it as a real theater company," Cairl said. "We just started asking the people we knew if they were interested in helping."

Among those who've had a hand in The Mighty Theater's success are Jessie Weber '96, Joel Garland '97, Victoria Perry '99, Mike Carlip '97, Dennis Mendoza '00, and Paul Olmer '98.

"We all graduated within a few years of each other," Cairl said. "We've just stayed in contact through the years."

Read the full New York Times article on The Mighty Theater.