ROCKLAND, Maine - The Board of Directors of Friends of the Strand Theatre recently welcomed three new members with strong ties to the community: Normas Thomas, Ariel Hall, and Elysa Rose Coster.
Norman Thomas does part time technical and management consulting with the Office of Naval Research and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. A career Naval Officer he graduated from Princeton University in 1963 with a degree in Electrical Engineering and the Naval Postgraduate School in 1967 with an MSEE; he also has a certificate in Management from the University of Virginia. After retiring from the Navy he has worked for Western Union, Norden Systems and Northrop Grumman developing electronic systems for the military.
Norman married Susan Allen in Rockland in 1964, and after 45 years they built a house in Owls Head and returned to her home. They have both been active in local government and community affairs wherever they have lived and are continuing that service on the Mid-Coast. They have seen and enjoyed the Strand as it has gone through its many lives as the entertainment heart of Rockland, and are especially pleased to see it returned to its original glory.
Ariel Hall grew up in Hope. She left Maine at 16, returning in her early thirties after years in New York City. Ariel is a multi-disciplinary artist working mainly in performance and installation. She has shown her work at La MaMa, Panoply Performance Lab, the Culture Project, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the Steel House, and in the streets of New York City and São Paulo, among other locales and venues. In her last stint in New York, Ariel assisted curators at the Museum of Modern Art, helping them better execute performative and interactive artworks in the museum’s galleries; she also performed and facilitated the production of these artworks. Ariel holds a BA in art, psychology, and feminist theory, and an MA in Performance Studies, both from NYU. Most recently, Ariel opened Periscope, a modern design shop focused on interiors, with her partner, Jan Leth. They live in Spruce Head with their baby daughter.
Elysa Rose Coster received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University. She worked as an art director in New York in advertising and promotion until she and her husband Paul moved to India and then Singapore. While in India, Elysa worked with battered women designing and producing patchwork quilts and, in Singapore, had her two daughters and wrote book reviews for a Singapore magazine. The Coster family moved back from Asia in 2000 and spent 18 years in Lloyd Harbor, NY before relocating to Rockland in 2016.
While raising her two daughters, who now are in college, Elysa was active in her local community and worked with organizations that promote education, the arts, and healthy living. Her creativity, penchant for aesthetics and originality, and strong commitment to working with local talent and being a integral member of the community are evident in her multiple home renovations and building management projects in NY, Camden, and most recently in Rockland on Steel House and Steel House South. Elysa is a member of the Universalist Unitarian church in Rockland, cleans the Good Tern once a week, and is teaching Iyengar Yoga and starting a pottery studio at Steel House South.
The Strand Theatre, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, became a nonprofit in January 2014 and is now operated by Friends of the Strand Theatre. It is located at 345 Main Street, Rockland. For more information about the theater visit www.rocklandstrand.com or call (207) 594-0070.