MONMOUTH — When Hannah Daly was 10, she landed her first acting role as the youngest child of Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol,” performed by the Portland Stage Company.

Daly continued performing in “A Christmas Carol” for eight years, moving up in the age of the characters she was portraying until she played Martha Cratchit, the oldest of the Cratchit children.

This summer, Daly, 19, of Portland, is looking forward to joining the repertory company at the Theater at Monmouth for its 44th season, dubbed “A Season for Lovers.”

Daly has two major roles, as Rabbit in “The Velveteen Rabbit” and as Emily in “Our Town,” and two minor roles in “The Knight of the Burning Pestle” and “The Taming of the Shrew.”

The Theater at Monmouth holds auditions in both Maine and in New York City. Daly wasn’t able to attend either of those auditions last winter, so she sent in an audition tape from Syracuse University, where she is pursuing a bachelor of fine arts degree in acting.

“I made it at midnight after a rehearsal. I was so excited, I was grateful they saw beyond that,” Daly said.


Daly said winning stage parts through auditions can be a tricky business.

“Sometimes your nerves take over,” she said. “But the people in the room want you to succeed. They want you to be perfect for the role. So much is out of your hands. Someone might get it because they’re two inches taller than you. That’s just how it works.”

Daly said that within three to four weeks of submitting her audition tape, she received an email from Dawn McAndrews, Monmouth’s artistic director, saying she would like her to join the company.

“It was a very happy moment for me,” said Daly.

McAndrews also worked with the directors for the six major plays to be presented at Monmouth to find roles they thought would fit Daly.

“I have to be up there on June 3, and rehearsals start the next day,” said Daly, who graduated from Waynflete School in Portland in 2011. “I hear it’s a pretty rigorous schedule.”


She will live in the Monmouth area for the summer play season, either in actors’ housing or with a host family.

“Friends who have worked up there in the past have told me it’s hard work, but it’s the most fun you’ll ever have,” she said.

When Daly returns to college as a junior in the fall, she can look forward to a semester in London, where she will study at the reproduction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater on the Thames River. At the end of the semester, Daly and her classmates will perform a Shakespeare play at the open-air theater.

“I’d really like to make my living by performing on the stage,” she said. “I grew up being around people who were actors. I hope to be like that. If movies come along, that’s great, but it’s not anything I’m dying to do.”

As for acting on the Monmouth stage, Daly said, “I am very happy to be so close to home. It’s very nice to have my first professional job in my home state. Now my family and friends will be able to see me. I’m very content with my lot.”

McAndrews is in her second year as artistic director, succeeding David Greenham, who held the post for 14 years.


She said she selects the season’s plays with input from play directors and the theater board, and the goal is to consider what the audience will expect and what they will enjoy.

McAndrews starts planning a season a year in advance. Before coming to Monmouth, she was active in VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, heading up its international festival, and she was artistic director for the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis.

McAndrews said attendance at the Theater at Monmouth was good last year despite the economic slowdown, and “the critical feedback we got was extremely good.”

“Sales for this season are going very well,” she said.

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