City Theatre Logo

City Theater: An Iconic Landmark and Thriving Arts Hub in Biddeford-Saco

City Theater is proud to be not only an historic landmark, but also a vital anchor of the growing arts and cultural community in Biddeford-Saco as a year-round performing arts venue.

City Theater is proud to be not only an historic landmark, but also a vital anchor of the growing arts and cultural community in Biddeford-Saco as a year-round performing arts venue.

Mainstage Productions

City Theater Associates produces five community theater productions per year. City Theater’s annual season runs from October – August and features both musicals and straight plays.

Cultural Events

City Theater is proud to be an historic landmark and a vital anchor of the Biddeford-Saco community as a year-round performing arts venue. As a member of the Biddeford + Saco Arts + Culture Alliance, City Theater hosts concerts, films, plays and performing artists throughout the year.

Additional Information

For additional information regarding the use of City Theater, please email [email protected]


concessions icon


Our concessions stand sells water, candy, and a selection of baked goods from local bakeries.

bar icon


Our bar sells water; seltzer water; local sodas; locally made beer, wine, hard ciders, and hard seltzers; and a selection of baked goods from local bakeries.

wheelchair accessible icon

Handicapped Access

City Theater has a ramp behind the theater as well as seats reserved for those in wheelchairs (please contact the box office to purchase wheelchair seats).

seating icon

Two levels of seating

With almost 500 seats, City Theater has both an orchestra and a balcony for patrons to choose their seats. Please note that there is no elevator access to the balcony.

online ticketing icon

Electronic Ticketing

With our PurplePass system, patrons can use the tickets emailed to them at time of purchase to enter an event.

heatac icon

Heating and Air Conditioning

Heating and AC system, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience throughout the year.

parking icon

Parking Options

Plenty of parking near the theater (on-street parking, parking lots, and a parking garage down the street from the theater).

nearby eats icon

Nearby Eats

Restaurants and bars within walking distance of the theater for food and drink before and after events.

Linda Sturdivant


Artistic Director Linda Sturdivant has a BS in Theater/ Education from the University of Southern Maine. She taught theater and was the drama coach at Rockland District High School from 1982-1988. She is the Regional Fine Arts Theater instructor for York County, and is a judge in the High School One Act Festivals.

Before coming to City Theater, Linda was a freelance director working in community theaters in the southern and western part of the state for over 20 years. Linda lives in Standish with her very understanding husband, three Labrador Retrievers and a variety of grand dogs.

two people posing in front of the theater

Artistic Director Linda Sturdivant and Board Vice President Mark Nahorney

Photo by Audra Hatch Photography

Our Board Of Directors

President, Board of Directors


Vice-President, Board of Directors

Treasurer, Board of Directors

Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator, Board of Directors

Jim LaBelle

Executive Director of the Biddeford & Saco Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors

Fundraising Coordinator, Board of Directors


Board of Directors

Box Office Coordinator, Board of Directors

Bar Coordinator, Board of Directors

Julia Butler

Board of Directors


Facilities, Board of Directors


Board of Directors

Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, Board of Directors

Karleena Stoner

Board of Directors

In 2022, City Theater Celebrated its 125th Anniversary

To celebrate the 125th Anniversary of City Theater, we created a special documentary: “City Theater: A Love Story” highlighting the extraordinary history of this magnificent performing arts venue. Special thanks to Charlie Cole, Ben Keller, and Linda Sturdivant for making this documentary possible.

History of Biddeford City Theater

The City of Biddeford purchased land in the late 1840s at the corner of Adams and Main Streets, and at that site planned the first building exclusively for the city government. It was to house all municipal offices, as well as the original opera house.

The opera house opened in October 1860 with a play depicting slavery in the Southern states – appropriate on the eve of the Civil War. An era of theatrical history began for the city of Biddeford. Edwin Booth, Joseph Jefferson, and Pat Rooney appeared over the years before appreciative audiences.

old city theater sign

On December 30, 1894, a raging fire destroyed the entire city building. An emergency city council meeting was called for on Jan. 2, 1895.From that initial session until the final architectural designs were completed, the question of whether or not to rebuild the opera house was hotly debated.

Finally, the dispute over building a performance arts center was settled in favor of the arts, and the planning of a larger and more structurally sound facility was initiated. Maine architect, John Calvin Stevens, designed a richly ornamented opera house in the colonial revival style, complete with horseshoe balcony. A large brass chandelier with glass shades showcased the stenciled ceilings.

city theater black and white

The rebuilt opera house reopened January 20th, 1896 and quickly resumed its role as as cultural focal point in York County. A favorite among audiences was vaudeville, with Biddeford as an important stop on its circuit. Dramatic performances by stage immortals like the Barrymores, along with minstrel shows, community pageants and plays were popular offerings. Local director and actor J.J. Salvas entertained audiences with his portrayal of various characters. Illustrated songs were also well-liked.

One such performance ended tragically and remains a part of City Theater’s folklore. On Halloween Eve, 1904 singer Eva Gray collapsed and died after her third encore of the song “Goodbye, Little Girl, Goodbye”. The beautiful 33 year old died backstage from heart failure with her 3 year old daughter present. Many since have referred to Eva as the theater’s resident “ghost”.

Soon films began to gain popularity, and when talkies were introduced in 1928, live theater was nearly eclipsed. The opera house became a movie house in the 1930’s. The grand days of vaudeville were over except for the occasional appearance of an act between films.

Renamed City Theater in 1955, interior improvements were started. The lobby and its staircase were paneled, new poster display cases were built along with a projection booth, and a permanent cinemascope screen was put in place. The transition from opera house to Movie Theater was neither easy nor graceful.

Television and drive-ins won the battle over movie houses and in 1963 City Theater closed. From 1971-74 it was used as a storage facility for the city. Ironically in 1973 City Theater, as part of Biddeford City Hall, was recognized and listed as a Historical Landmark with the National Trust. That being said, in 1975 a load of sand was dumped in the middle of the venerable old facility, turning the orchestra pit into a horseshoe pit, but not everyone thought the theater should suffer this fate.

In 1977 the newly incorporated City Theater Associates began a move to reopen City Theater.

Through a lot of hard work and community volunteerism, the theater reopened in 1978 with the internationally acclaimed Norman Luboff Choir. The theater received a face lift, but was still in dire need of upgrades and restoration. The public supported the theater and attendance grew as plays, musicals, concerts, dance recitals, and community events graced the stage.

black and white photo

In 1996 the theater celebrated its 100th year anniversary and was awarded a gift of new seats from the city of Biddeford. Soon a combination of funding received from federal, state, municipal, private, and business sources put restoration efforts into full motion. The highlights of this effort include a new marquee along with restored and reproduced stenciling on the theater’s lobby walls, house walls, and ceiling. The theater also received modern updates to its lighting and sound system, a digital projector and the installation of a new heating and air conditioning system.

current city theater
city theater current backstage

City Theater continues its long-held mission of fostering an appreciation for the performing arts. In addition to five main stage productions, we have expanded our season by collaborating with other non-profits and entertainment organizations to bring music, comedy and dance to the City Theater stage.

Our 2022-2023 season included a broad range of events, plays, musicals, and other arts as we continue to recover from the pandemic. Our main stage shows included gems such as Sylvia, Christmas My Way, Nunsense, Exit Laughing, and Sweet Charity. We also welcomed back local favorites comedian Juston McKinney and pianist/singer Joe Boucher for Winterfest, City Theater also began to further expand the types of performances and events at our theater.

This past season we hosted two wildly popular concerts, one at Valentine’s Day and another for our first Pride Weekend, featuring some of the best performers at City Theater. We also hosted our very first (but not our last) drag show featuring Curbside Queens!

The hard work of our nearly 100% volunteer-driven theater was recognized as we received several awards, including the Gold Medal: Best Live Theater in the State of Maine via the Best of the 207
contest. City Theater’s win against other amazing theaters in the state recognizes the hard work of our mostly volunteer board, staff, actors and crew. City Theater has also won recent awards from Broadway World for costumes and music for The Rocky Horror Show, as well as acting and directing awards for On Golden Pond.

As we look to our past to help shape our future, our upcoming season and events promise to be just as entertaining as ever. Stay tuned for more movies, more concerts, more community engagement, and more art than ever!

Past Season Mainstage Productions

2021-2022 Season

  • Ghost Train
  • Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play
  • Daddy Long Legs
  • On Golden Pond
  • Rocky Horror Show

2019-2020 Season

  • Noises Off
  • It’s A Wonderful Life: Live From WVL Radio Theatre
  • Little Women *
  • On Golden Pond *
  • La Cage Aux Folles *

* cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

2018-2019 Season

  • Swingtime Canteen
  • A Christmas Carol: The Musical
  • The Light in the Piazza
  • Calendar Girls
  • The Drowsy Chaperone

2017-2018 Season

  • Disenchanted
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Company
  • Enchanted April
  • The Producers

2016-2017 Season

  • Over the River and Through the Woods
  • A Christmas Survival Guide
  • Pump Boys and Dinettes
  • Steel Magnolias
  • The Wizard of Oz

2015-2016 Season

  • Jekyll and Hyde
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
  • Next to Normal
  • Murder at the Howard Johnson’s
  • West Side Story

2014-2015 Season

  • The Mousetrap
  • The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical
  • Tick, Tick…BOOM!
  • Five Women Wearing the Same Dress
  • RENT

2013-2014 Season

  • Rumors
  • 1950s Rock and Roll Christmas
  • Gunmetal Blues
  • You Can’t Take it With You
  • The Full Monty
  • Bingo: The Musical

2012-2013 Season

  • HONK!
  • Ordinary Days
  • Legends: The Music of Judy Garland
  • 9 to 5: The Musical
  • 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Questions? Contact us at [email protected]