WINTHROP — The folks that presented “Sweeney Todd” last year at the Winthrop Performing Arts Center are presenting “Rent” this year in seven performances at the Winthrop High School venue.

The cast, a mix of local residents and New York City-based performers, is known as The Fairway Players, formerly the Maranacook Community Players.

The show offers a glimpse in the life of seven friends who face problems in love, life and health, most prominently AIDS. The play won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award, and was made into a movie, directed by Chris Columbus in 2005.

The director of the Winthrop production of “Rent,” Kent Axell, is an owner of Axell’s Scandanavian Inn and Fairway Overnight and Extended Stay, and the show is being promoted through signs placed along public roads in Manchester.

Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights for the next three weekends, with one matinee performance Aug. 13.

“We’re donating a portion of the proceeds to the Winthrop Performing Arts Center to support arts education in Maine,” said actor Alan Houser, of New York. “The board members (of the center) were very generous to allow us to use the space at cost.”

More information about The Fairway Players is available on Facebook at!/fairwayplayers.

Thursday saw a free performance for those involved with local substance abuse shelters; homeless shelters, and domestic violence shelters.

Performers include Kent Axell Jr. of Manchester and New York, playing Roger. Axell brought his production company from New York to put on the show.

Local performers include Rebecca Singer, of Turner, playing Maureen; Meg Scully, Winthrop, playing Joanne, and Bill E. Axell, of Manchester, playing Benny.

New Yorkers in the show include Houser, playing Mark; Christina Dallons, playing Mimi; Alexander Vanjah Boikai, playing Collins; and Cesar Villavicencio, playing Angel.

The ensemble is composed of Lisa Shea, Tyler Huff, and Cory Peaslee, of Augusta; Fia Fortune and Desiree Fortune, of Windsor; Kendra Laliberte, of Mount Vernon; Bailey Sechrist, of Manchester; Tyler Banden, of Wayne; Harmony Lattin, of Winthrop; Buddy Iaciofano, of Hallowell, and Venuz Delmar of New York City.