Craven: Next Best Thing

Oct 9, 2017

Every fall season provides a showcase for stimulating arts events in every corner of Vermont.

White River’s Northern Stage is producing Ibsen’s “A Dolls House” and Emmy-winner Gordon Clapp’s one-man Robert Frost show, “This Verse Business” through most of October.

Lost Nation Theater is performing Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” – and British and American actors from Aquila Theater will stage their own version of Austen’s romantic comedy in St. Johnsbury.

Vermont Stage has mounted an ambitious production of “Fun Home” that won five Tony Awards and is based on Vermonter Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir that takes on autobiographical issues of gender and much more. It plays through October 29th.

Bechdel’s success reminds me of another Vermonter, Anais Mitchell whose powerful, unconventional, and timely musical, “Hadestown” played New York recently and picked up seven prestigious Luciille Lortel nominations.

Fall is also a good time for festivals. The Brattleboro Book Festival unfolds October 12th to 15th with a staggering guest list that includes Richard Russo, Carolyn Forche, Ron Powers, Gretchen Gerzina and many others.

The Sixth Annual Brattleboro Film Festival will soon announce its line-up for an event that will unspool November 3rd to 12th.

The 32nd edition of the Vermont International Film Festival will pop up in downtown Burlington, October 20th through 29th. Nearly sixty films are slated – with an opening night screening of “Faces Places” by French New Wave pioneer, Agnes Varda, whose remarkable body of work is being celebrated this month at Lincoln Center.

The festival showcases films from around the world – and includes a Vermont filmmakers slate that includes Alan Dater and Lisa Merton’s urgent new documentary, “Burned: Are Trees the New Coal?” Also, Dorothy Tod’s film about Patrick Leahy’s first run for the U.S. Senate – and Upper Valley filmmaker Signe Taylor’s new picture, “It’s Criminal” that explores a life-changing experience that grew from a theater collaboration between incarcerated women and Dartmouth College students.

An Independent TV Festival takes place October 11th through 15th in Manchester – it’s a unique idea – where independent television producers get to share their inspiration away from the small screen. With so much activity taking place today on our proliferating cable, broadcast, and web networks, anything is possible. A mix of creative types and executives can be expected to rub shoulders in search of opportunities and, who knows? Maybe the next big thing.