The Belfast Maskers will celebrate the opening of its 2010 theater festival with a brief ceremony Saturday, June 26 at 3 p.m. in Steamboat Landing Park, the site of the new Belfast Maskers Festival Stage.

The stage will be the venue for William Inge’s “Picnic” and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” in July. A preview of the shows will be presented after a couple short speeches and a ribbon-cutting. The public is invited, as are town officials, members of the Belfast arts community and Belfast Maskers’ supporters through the years.

The portable stage is designed by John Bielenberg (Sr.) and is expected to provide years of service to the Maskers, who began presenting outdoor summer shows a few years ago. Designer and master carpenter Bielenberg said the design is inspired by the permanent, architectural, indoor festival stages of Shakespeare Festivals, such as that of Stratford, Ontario. There are several levels, allowing multiple entrances and exits in all directions. The vertical constructs in the back provide a firm base for any number of scenery and set elements to be attached. Bielenberg performed its construction with the help of volunteers.

Funding for the stage was made possible by grants from the Davis Family Foundation and the Hut Foundation. The stage also will be made available for other groups to use during the summer, with approval from the Belfast City Council.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.