Performance Notes, June 25, 2020

New England Center for Circus Arts is reopening to the public on Monday. Photo provided by New England Center for Circus Arts

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  


New England Center for Circus Arts to reopen

New England Center for Circus Arts is reopening to the public on Monday, June 29.

Local enrollment for the summer session is open for registration, with aerial and acrobatic classes for beginner through advanced students.

"We're excited to invite new and returning students to rejoin small group activities with classes that are in-person while physically distanced, " NECCA Founder Serenity Smith Forchion said in a statement.

The nonprofit organization typically offers more than 50 recreational classes each week, as well as local outreach programs, a three-year professional training program and destination workshops that draw students from the world over.

For the past three months, the training facility has been unoccupied due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, NECCA leadership worked with the American Youth Circus Organization and American Circus Educators, and executive director Jamie Hodgson participated on a task force to develop a risk assessment strategy for the circus arts teaching industry. Director of Programming Elsie Smith and Forchion worked with coaches to build new online curriculum and research methods for in-person but distanced teaching for the reopening. Also during this time, NECCA offered mini-presentations by distancing performers to local retirement homes, and students juggled in parks and backyards once the weather turned warm.

In early June, following state guidelines, the school began the process of bringing students back into the space. Staff-only training opened on June 15 and membership self-training opened June 22.

Forchion explained the process, saying, "Risk mitigation is a big part of what we do, though it usually focuses on mats and spotting instead of disinfectants and mask protocols. Our goal is to bring back our programming in layers, each phase taken with care towards how things are different while still honoring our mission that NECCA transforms lives through circus and being at NECCA should feel positive and invigorating."

A schedule and registration, as well as information on online classes and a new Build Your Own Online Circus Camp for youth can be found online at and by calling 802-254-9780.

Sherlock Holmes podcast to be recorded in Latchis Theatre

A Sherlock Holmes podcast started during the COVID-19 pandemic will record episodes in the Latchis Theatre, allowing multiple performers to read lines while social distancing.

New episodes of the podcast, by the Baker Street Readers, begin June 29.

The Readers formed in 2018, and began reading one of Arthur Conan Doyles's original Sherlock Holmes stories every month at the Hooker-Dunham Theatre. Each story featured James Gelter as Sherlock Holmes, Tony Grobe as Dr. Watson, and a rotating cast of guest performers.

Once COVID-19 forced theaters to close, the Readers began its own patron-supported podcast, allowing its followers to listen to their stories at home.

Previously, the Readers produced two episodes of the podcast each month. In the new space, editing time will be significantly reduced, allowing for a new episode every week.

Audiences can listen to the podcast at and sign up to be a patron. For $5 a month, patrons will receive a new episode every two weeks; for $8, they will receive a new episode weekly. For more information, visit or @bakerstreetreaders on Facebook.

Epsilon Spires starts outdoor film series

Epsilon Spires is kicking off a socially-distanced, outdoor film series Friday nights in its parking lot.

The Backlot Cinema, starting in July, will show feature films, international shorts, live performances and other contemporary art surprises. It is set up similar to a drive-in, but with picnic blankets, raffles for gift certificates and food vendors paired with the film themes.

The first three events are:

July 3: Glam Rock A Go-Go with Brian DePalma's cult classic musical "Phantom of Paradise" and short films by Tom Rubnitz & Rebecca Erin Moran. Includes Boomerang gift certificate raffle and drinks by the Stone Church.

July 10: Afrofuturist Program with a short film, "Afronauts," and a new Ethiopian sci-fi comedy feature, "Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway." Drinks by Stone Church, raffle gift certificate from Turn it Up.

July 17: Indian pop-art short films, a Bollywood 1960s classic, "Introduced by Vidhi of the Mumbai," Brattleboro radio show Vidhi's Bollywood Jukebox on WVEW 107.7 FM, Indian food truck: Shitals Vegetarian, drinks by Stone Church, raffle gift certificate to Swirl.

Epsilon Spires Backlot Cinema will be at 190 Main St., Brattleboro.


Duo to perform at Tasty Tuesday

Bard Owl — T. Breeze Verdant and Annie Landenberger — will perform June 30 at the West Townshend Country Store's Tasty Tuesday.

From 5:30 until 7:30 p.m., the acoustic duo will play a range of old and new tunes, including originals by Verdant, who plays guitar, works the stompbox drum and sings. Landenberger has been singing for decades in various genres. There is no cover, and more information is available at


Solo concert in town park

Peter Miles, of Dover, will play a solo concert on July 5, from 2 to 4 p.m., in the town park in West Dover. Social distancing is required.

According to his website, Miles plays with a vivid guitar style. His versions of classic folk and rock ballads are a staple of his live shows. Miles also writes and performs original music.

More information is available through the town office by phone, 802-464-5100, and on Miles' website,


Sandglass hosts online puppet building workshop

An online, weeklong workshop on puppet building with master builder Ines Zeller Bass is planned for July 13 to 18.

Sandglass Theater will post demonstration videos and written explanations to a private Facebook group that will be active for the duration of the course. Participants can work on their own time, and ask questions and connect with puppet builders and instructors.

The cost for the class is $85, plus materials. Participants can collect their own materials or order a kit from Sandglass for $30 plus shipping costs. Curbside pickup is also available.

Orders for kits that will be shipped must be made by July 1. Orders for curbside must be made by July 5 and will be ready for pick up July 8 to 10. A materials and tools list is available at

Participants will receive an invitation to join the private Facebook group a few days prior to the start of the course. Instructors recommend bookmarking the group and checking back often during the week.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us.
We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.