CHELMSFORD, MA (Aug. 24, 2023) – Because she believes there are no small or big roles in any theatre production, Erin Maitland’s transition as Chelmsford High School’s first theatre director in more than 20 years should be quite smooth.
A native of Methuen, Mass., Ms. Maitland began the role on July 1, when she was selected by Dr. Christy Whittlesey, Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts at CHS. Her work has already begun with the High School’s Theatre Guild’s Open House Wednesday, Aug. 30, and the recent selection of “Mamma Mia” as the fall musical.
“I’ve already met with the students in the Guild,” said Ms. Maitland, who doubles as the Assistant Director of Community Building and Transfer Coordinator at UMass Lowell. “I’m super excited to work with the students. I can’t wait to be in the room with them and start creating.”
Ms. Maitland replaces Lauren Cochran, who served as a music educator for 26 years and spent 23 years as Theatre Director. Ms. Cochran retired in June and is currently the Executive Director of the Chelmsford Center for the Arts.
“I feel the need to hold up her legacy,” Ms. Maitland said of Ms. Cochran. “I want to honor her work through this program. Her focus was with the students and that’s how I feel.”
The timing for taking on the role, Ms. Maitland said, is perfect. She is currently studying for her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre – her second master’s degree – at Emerson College. She will graduate in May of 2024.
“CHS is thrilled to welcome Erin Maitland as the high school theatre director for the 2023-2024 year,” said Ms. Whittlesey. “Erin has been honored for her acting, directing, and designing work and has extensive experience directing high school students and adults. We can’t wait to see the work that students produce as they collaborate with Erin and the rest of the theatre staff this year.”
Ms. Maitland’s acting resume lists nearly 50 roles in which she has performed and/or served as a producer or director, including the likes of “Annie” (she played Miss Hannigan), “The Drowsy Chaperone” (Drowsy), “Into the Woods” (assistant producer/audition committee), and “Beauty and the Beast” (Belle), the latter staged at the Carl J. Rondina Performing Arts Center.
Ms. Maitland has directed three musicals including “Home for the Holidays Cabaret” and “Here Comes the Sun Cabaret,” performed at The Spotlight Playhouse in Lawrence, Mass.; and “The Addams Family,” staged at ActorSingers in Nashua, N.H.
She has also reaped several honors, including Best Supporting Actress in a Play from the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theatres (EMACT) for her portrayal of Siobhan in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.” She was also a finalist for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her depiction of Drowsy in “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
As a director, Ms. Maitland was honored for her work and leadership for the production of “The Addams Family,” which won Best Scenic Design and was among three finalists for Best Musical honors by the New Hampshire Theatre Alliance (NHTA). Additionally, she was a finalist for Best Director in a Musical.
Ms. Maitland earned her undergraduate degree in Performing Arts with a focus in theatre from Wheelock College in 2009 and her master’s degree in Organizational Leadership (focus in higher education) from Wheelock in 2012.
A 2005 graduate of Methuen H.S., Ms. Maitland lives in Hudson, N.H.
About Chelmsford Public Schools
The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit www.chelmsfordschools.org.