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Middlebury Town Hall Theater

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by

Alice Lin

on 6 May 2013

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Transcript of Middlebury Town Hall Theater

* Around 1958, Middlebury High School as new location for the Town Offices and Town Hall Theatre building was sold. Town Hall Theatre: The End of a Scene The story of the core of a rural community Middlebury Town Hall Theater Golden Age
1883-1937 The Town Hall Theater Today Historical facts Competition with Campus Theatre (1937) The Reopening: Town Hall Theatre The Revival of the Town
Hall Theater: A Production (1998-2008) Who's the target? The Theater that wanted to be an Opera House The dates The entertainment The contents Featuring: Middlebury Community Players, The Bread Loaf Corporation, THT Inc., Middlebury College, The Lions Club of Middlebury, The Rotary Club of Middlebury, U.S. Senator James M. Jeffords, the Anonymous Addison County donator, and the rest of the Middlebury community With Special Thanks to: the Knights of Columbus Hall for putting the historic landmark up for sale, the nature of nostalgia, and the power of community * Starring: Douglas Anderson as the visionary protagonist People Peformance Setting (Theater Structure) Concept Behind the Vision Grand Opening: July 26, 2008 "A town needs a big room to do stuff in." -Douglas Anderson Arrival of Campus Theatre "A woman who was here in the 50’s said Middlebury College woman students were not allowed to go into the balcony at Town Hall Theater. Too many bad things could happen there. Famous make-out space. I’d like to say many people had their first kiss or their first cigarette in the Town Hall Theatre balcony." (Doug Anderson) Feb. 1883: Meeting held to build the new Town Hall WHY? Neutral Participatory
culture VT is
growing! Feb. 1884: Town Hall Theater opens How did it look? Goal: embrace the cultural life of the community Opening night: Masquerade Ball “An exceptionally pleasant company of about fifty couples gathered at the new town hall on Wednesday evening for the eleventh annual masquerade party. The costumes were more varied and elaborate than on any previous occasion of the same character. The unmasking, which took place at 10 o’clock, was highly entertaining. We are unable to give a full list of characters, and so shall not attempt any individual mention. The Howard Opera House orchestra sustained its excellent reputation; and the supper – taken at the Addison House – was of course of the best. This was the first time the new town hall had been used, and afforded a good opportunity for the public to see the building. The gallery and stage were filled with spectators.” Middlebury Register 1890-1900: great success
1900-1937: Importance of movie going
1937: Campus Theater opens Rural community The entertainment experience What was demanded? Baudevilles Community parties Sheet
parties 1922- Change to fixed seats: What did that implied? Theaters: dark places? Town meetings Religious services Children’s operettas and plays Traveling and local theatricals A tuberculosis exhibit Dances and proms Lectures and orations Concerts Readings Political rallies Local school tests and common teachers’ exams, fairs Music festivals Movie Theater - advertisement in comparison to Campus Theatre - malfunctioning projectors
- films that snapped mid-reel
- rowdy behavior from college students & locals * Sam Emilo purchased building - furniture store - car dealership (1960) - The Belmont Restaurant - Knights of Columbus (1968-2000) + meeting hall
+ community space
[dinners, bingo games, music, performances] - new projection equipment, sound system,
rest rooms, & comfortable upholstered seats
- not on the Graphics circuit – mostly showed second-run films and “B” pictures whereas the Campus was part of Graphics Theater circuit, theaters throughout NE that showed first-run films & offered two matinees with two evening shows daily. Frat boys would use to see how many little kids they could smuggle under their coats, so the kids would hang out & they would probably get somebody to literally hide them under the coat to get in. * Space for Middlebury College Students to hang out The Building *NON-Fixed Seats The Experience Celebration of local talent - intimate experience
4 resident companies: Middlebury Community Players, Middlebury Actors Workshop, Opera Company of Middlebury
165 events a year (wide-range)
Liquor license: "Beer is signifier. That beer says you are welcome here." -Douglas Anderson
Embodies ideals of original Opera House [A Populous Approach] Community-oriented space
Erie Volkert Theater: moving seats, 232 seats, 46 balcony seats
Carolyn and WIll Jackson Gallery (lobby)
Bruce and Sue Byers Rehearsal Studio
Dressing rooms, box office, kitchen
*MULTIPURPOSE SPACE http://www.townhalltheater.org/
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