Live theater returns to the Main Street Arts stage in Saxtons River

Main Street Arts stage. Photo by Bill Lockwood

SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. – The current Main Street Arts building at 35 Main Street, Saxtons River is built as an expansion of the villages’ historic Odd Fellows Hall. Its stage has seen many performances over many years, Covid locked everything down in the Spring of 2020. Starting this Saturday, May 7 at 3:30 p.m., new life is returning to the stage with “Momologues,” a stand-up comedy presentation on the theme of mothers. And two more live stage events are planned: Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” weekends June 25 through July 16, and an original work by Sean Edward Roberts, “The Books of Alice and Wonderland,” July 29 to 31. Susan Still, Board Chair, says, “Each of these events has a different relationship to MSA, so it’s a good example of the variety of ways we work with artists and groups.” The comedy show is a single rental of the space. With “Hamlet,” MSA provides a venue for another presenter, and the “Alice” show is produced by MSA itself. Roberts, who will direct and produce the show for MSA says, “I’m absolutely thrilled with the restart and possibilities that await MSA’s future.”

A sample drape, created by Charles Henry. Photo by Bill Lockwood

The theater has quite a history. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Charles Henry and his family toured in New York, New England, and especially Vermont, where they would provide entertainment, and Charles would also paint scenic drapes that provided backdrops for the various acts. Saxtons River was one of his frequent stops. A dozen or so, the largest known collection of Henry’s well done drapes, remain. MSA began producing musicals and plays in the late 1990s. A number were Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, perfect for the use of Henry’s drapes. Concerts and other events used the stage as well. While their own productions continued on the MSA stage and in other venues, about five years ago MSA became known for then Artistic Director David Stern’s productions that brought big stage musicals back to the Bellows Falls Opera House. The last of those was “Cabaret” that was cancelled two days before it was to open due to the pandemic lockdown. After the traumatic and financial loss of “Cabaret,” MSA retrenched. Stern went with The Wild Goose Players, under the umbrella of Next Stage Arts in Putney. That group, including a number who had been in “Cabaret,” just presented “Into the Woods” at the Bellows Falls Opera House the past two weekends. Now live events are returning to the MSA stage as well.

“Momologues” is co-hosted by Marisa Imon, who played Cinderella’s mother in Stern’s “Into the Woods,” and Raegan Garside. Various comedy routines are presented by a number of friends who have been informally presenting such events around New England since about 2018. This show on Mother’s Day will all be stories about mothers. Imon says that one mother is performing with her daughter and, “Every mom will get a gift.”

John Haddon will Direct “Hamlet,” which is produced by Wild Goose Players. His approach is to have a seven month rehearsal period in which he hopes to create a ensemble company that truly understands “all about the language creating the times and settings in the imagination [of the audience].” It will run and develop over four weekends.

Roberts says. “‘The Books of Alice and Wonderland’ [will] take you down the rabbit hole into a child-like but spooky production that is community driven and a restart of MSA’s house staged productions.”

Anyone interested can access Main Street Arts at 802-869-2960 or email


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