This summer, Theater at Monmouth celebrates wily, wicked, and wonderful women through classic literature’s most fantastic females. In this spirit, TAM dedicates the 2018 Roar: The Year of the Woman Season to Nancy Bates Ludewig. For the residents of Monmouth that is exactly what “Nance” represented—a force of nature, an iron will, and a tremendous heart. If there was a need, she would fill it; from Neighbors Helping Neighbor’s Fuel Fund fundraising events to the Monmouth Healthy Meals Backpack Program, from Mayfair and Garden Club to annual Christmas Shows in Cumston Hall, Nancy brought people together. The board, staff, and artists of Theater at Monmouth express our sincerest gratitude to you, Nancy, for making this little theatre, in this little town a brighter place for all.

Nancy refused to let Cumston Hall be a stodgy edifice in the center of town; she saw it as the centerpiece, a gathering place, and a thread to the town’s rich history. Something that came to life itself when filled with community members. She started a children’s drama program to give students the opportunity to create characters, express themselves artistically, and share their voices. For many years, she and husband, Doug greeted Theater at Monmouth audiences—from near and far—welcoming them not only into the building but to a way of life, here in Monmouth.

Her husband of 55 years, C. Douglas Ludewig, shared that “Nancy would be greatly honored to have such a dedication. For some reason she never thought about being recognized for all that she did. She just did it and never expected that what she did would be remembered as being anything exceptional.”

Nancy wrote a poem celebrating her beloved Monmouth, which she updated for the town’s 225th Celebration in 2017; here’s part that highlights Cumston Hall:

Cumston Hall’s a landmark. The Library’s on the first floor.
To see great architecture and murals just walk through the tall, narrow, dark brown doors.
Walk up the stairs, there’s a balcony. Sounds all around, you’ll hear—
Maybe Gilbert and Sullivan, or children’s plays, and, certainly William Shakespeare.
This building, designed by Harry Cochrane, dedicated in 1900, the 28th of June.
Has boxes and murals and trapdoors and lights, and is noted for speeches and playing of tunes!
So, stay in Monmouth and rest a spell and live here the whole year through.
You’ll love the land and admire the people. Monmouth is GOOD for you!!!
–Excerpted from Monmouth History: Raising the Curtain on 225 Years, Monmouth Museum, Inc.

Nancy Ludewig was GOOD for Monmouth.

Producing Artistic Director, Dawn McAndrews said, “We discussed a number of ways to honor Nancy Ludewig’s contribution not only to the Monmouth Community but also for her support of Cumston Hall and Theater at Monmouth. We wanted a gesture that reflected Nancy’s spirit of giving and her life-long commitment to this town.”

Theater at Monmouth will rename 2018 Monmouth Nights as Nancy Ludewig Memorial Monmouth Nights and expand opportunities for year-round Monmouth residents to attend productions for $10 not only on the first Thursday of each production (as the program currently exists) but on any Thursday evening or Saturday evening performance throughout the summer. Year-round residents may purchase one $10 ticket per production; guests “from away” and summer residents would pay full price. The Theater’s Board of Directors felt that dedicating the season to Nancy and inviting the community to gather together in celebration seemed a fitting tribute for a life lived in service to others.

Year-round Monmouth Residents may reserve Nancy Ludewig Memorial Monmouth Night tickets by calling the Box Office at 207.933.9999.