Performance Notes, July 2, 2020

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Literary festival moves online

Due to the current pandemic, the 19th annual Brattleboro Literary Festival slated for Oct 17 to 20 will be an online event.

"We started the Brattleboro Literary Festival out of love for our local community and the wider literary community of writers, readers, literary nonprofits, and, booksellers. It's that same love that has led us to make a difficult decision," organizers said in a statement.

Details of this year's festival will soon be on the event's website at


Sculptor to hold outdoor, socially distanced class

Clay artist Alan Steinberg will offer a 10-week outdoor clay sculpting class, designed to meet social distancing standards, starting Wednesday, July 8, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The class will be held at the Putney town pool pavilion picnic tables, and will allow nine students, plus Steinberg, to work farther than minimum safe social distance from one another. The roof provides shade and rain protection. There is a view of alpenglow on Bare Hill, with the sound of frogs, birds and crickets. Overlooking the Central School Forest, it will be as much a nature immersion as a clay class.

Steinberg, who identifies as high risk for COVID-19, says he has missed the camaraderie and healing quality of a creative group working together, and does not believe he will offer a class indoors until there is a readily available vaccine. His psychotherapy office has been shuttered for months, and he has converted all appointments into "Walking in Nature Therapy," which gave him the idea to take clay outdoors.

"During this challenging time, the two most powerful anti-stress medicines I know for all we carry, are nature immersion and art making," Steinberg said in a statement. "And what better art material is there than clay — the very earth itself, as an antidote to the don't touch reality that now pervades our lives?"

For more information or to register, call 802-387-4820 or email

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Jazz sextet performs drive-in concert

Next Stage Arts Project will hold two drive-in theater concerts by the Vermont Jazz Center Sextet on Friday at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. in the Basketville parking lot.

Cars will be socially distanced — leaving a vacant space between cars for attendees who choose to bring lawn chairs. The rain date for the concerts is Sunday, July 5.

The Vermont Jazz Center Sextet is the jazz center's community outreach ensemble. The group has developed programs performed in schools, assisted-living homes and libraries. Through these

performances and clinics, more people are given the opportunity to hear the music of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Art Blakey and others, with original music and arrangements often written by members of the ensemble.

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The members of the sextet are: Rob Freeberg (trumpet), Ron Kelley (alto saxophone), Jim Heffron (tenor saxophone), Cathy Martin (piano), Jay Elfenbein (bass) and Mike Patek (drums).

The Next Stage Drive In is at Basketville, 8 Bellows Falls Road, downtown Putney. Advance tickets are $20 per car, available online at Putney Mountain Winery will offer a cash wine bar. The concerts are sponsored in part by Basketville, Putney Mountain Winery and Greenberg Associates Architects, with special thanks to Patrick Noyes. For more information, visit or call 802-387-0102.


The Green Sisters to perform in Dover park

A band of four sisters will perform bluegrass in a free concert at the Dover Town Park on Sunday, July 12, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Green Sisters, from Western Massachusetts, will play on the gazebo. The band members all sing and play multiple instruments, including banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle and bass.

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The park is on Route 100 in West Dover. Attendees must practice social distancing. More information about The Green Sisters can be found at More information about the Dover Summer Concerts is available by calling the town offices, 802-464-5100.


The Colonial Theatre accelerates renovations, adds smaller venue

A two-year renovation project to The Colonial Theater's main stage and lobby has been condensed to one year.

According to Alec Doyle, executive director of The Colonial Performing Arts Center, the organization's Board of Directors decided the current health care crisis presented both a challenge and an opportunity.

"Under the state's phased reopening guidelines, our theatre would have only been open to partial-capacity audiences at best for a significant period of the upcoming season," he said in a statement. "Completing our renovations in half the originally planned time is a smarter alternative for our patrons and for the organization's long-term fiscal stability."

In summer 2019, the Colonial Theatre Board of Directors announced its intention to transform the 95-year-old venue into The Colonial Performing Arts Center, offering expanded opportunities and greater accessibility to performers, audiences and students.

In April, the organization acquired a building to house The Colonial Performing Arts Center's Showroom — a smaller, multipurpose venue for emerging artists, local performers and educational programming. Renovations of that building, 20 Commercial St., are underway, for programming to begin this fall, as state and federal guidelines allow.

While the new, accelerated project plan will keep the Main Street venue closed to performances for a year, the community will still have access to performances at Showroom.

Construction on the main theater is now slated to begin in September. The project will include extensive renovations and expansions to the inner and outer lobbies while retaining historic character. The renovated main theater will feature a spacious ticket lobby, a patron lounge and a dedicated concessions area, as well as elevators to all floors, improvements to restrooms and new administrative offices.

The project also includes crucial enhancements to the stage and backstage area, such as new rigging and staging technologies, creation of an artist lounge and contemporary dressing rooms. The architectural design firm for the renovations on the main theater is Weller & Michal Architects.


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