Gail Phaneuf Named Artistic and Executive Director of Historic Deertrees Theatre

Deertrees Theatre’s new Artistic and Executive Director Gail Phaneuf,
image by Michelle McGrath PR – Gail Phaneuf, playwright, educator, composer, actor and director and a 40-year summer resident of Harrison, has been named the artistic and executive director of the historic Deertrees Theatre, providing performing arts entertainment to the Greater Maine region since 1936.  Phaneuf recently relocated permanently to Harrison from Boston, where she will now live year-round and has already begun her new position.

“The Board of Directors determined that Gail Phaneuf was the person who checked all of the boxes for the position of Executive and Artistic Director.  Our vision for Deertrees is to expand the production genres, incorporate new technology and facilitate an exciting cultural hub for Western Maine.  We feel that Gail will make Deertrees a destination for all ages for years to come,” shares Deertrees’ Board of Directors President Cheryl McLaughlin.

Boston native Gail Phaneuf has devoted her entire career to theatre.  As a playwright and composer, Phaneuf has penned three full musicals and sixteen plays, performed at venues around the world.  Her award-winning MONSTERS! A Midlife Musical Meltdown, premiered in Boston, and subsequently produced at Deertrees, amongst other theaters.  Her play Breakfast with Mary premiered at Deertrees in 2011.  Her teen musical The Love Note was produced Off-Broadway in 2014 and continues to be produced across the globe.  Other works include Memorize You, a song-cycle and the dramatic one-woman imagining Kippy, Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living, on activist and social justice hero Kip Tiernan.  Phaneuf is also the founder of G.P. Technologies/Productions in Boston, MA, and former president of Boston’s Playwrights’ Platform.  She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and earned a master’s degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College.  Phaneuf also holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering.  As an educator, she served as the Playwright in Residence, Senior Lecturer, sound designer and theatre director for a decade at Curry College.  To learn more, visit

Gail Phaneuf, courtesy image

“I am excited to begin this new chapter at Deertrees, the gorgeous destination that has brought me great enjoyment and inspiration over my years in Maine.  I saw one of my first plays here and have always remembered the experience,” shares Phaneuf. “I now have the opportunity to produce a series of shows, concerts, comedy and events for patrons of all ages and interests.” Phaneuf’s family has long owned a home on Crystal Lake in Harrison.  She recently purchased a home in the downtown district to live year-round, all within a few miles of Deertrees Theatre.

Summer 2021 is Deertrees’ much anticipated 85th anniversary season.  The artistic team and Board are planning an eclectic variety of entertainment for all ages on Deertrees’ quintessential stage and its beautiful Maine campus.  Anticipated productions include plays, musicals, concerts, comedy, readings, cabaret, film festivals.  An anniversary season kickoff fundraiser will include a psychic fair, details to be announced.

The interior of Deertrees Theatre, 2019, courtesy image

Founded in 1936 originally as an opera house by prominent opera singer/director Enrica Clay Dillon, Deertrees Theatre has been home Broadway stars and local actors, world-acclaimed musicians and aspiring students.  Nestled in the beautiful foothills of Southern Maine’s lake region in the town of Harrison, historically serving as a secluded retreat for artists. The acoustically perfect theatre is set in one of the nation’s most idyllic locations, boasting a rose hemlock wood structure harvested from the property, featuring hand-carved beams, doors, trim and light fixtures. The building, in stages of restoration since 1990, is now listed on Maine’s State Register of Historic Landmarks and on the National Registry of Historic Places.  The facility also features the Backstage Art Gallery and Salt Lick Café, and is home to Sebago-Long Lake Chamber Music Festival.

For more information, visit, email, call 207-583-6747 or follow Deertrees Theatre on Facebook.

About Deertrees Theatre

Founded in 1936 as an opera house, Deertrees Theatre was built on the site of an old deer run in the forest above the village of Harrison, Maine. Constructed of rose hemlock in the Adirondack style with hand carved fixtures and near perfect acoustics, the theatre has long been home to Broadway-quality entertainment.

Now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the non-profit Deertrees Theatre presents an eclectic offering of theatrical productions and comedies, family entertainment, and a variety of musical concerts during the quintessential summer theater season annually from late June through early September.

As a most active performing arts venue of the Northeast, Deertrees is home to the Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival on five summer Tuesday evenings, The Backstage Art Gallery and The Salt Lick Café.  For more information, visit, email, call 207-583-6747 or follow Deertrees Theatre on Facebook.