Wild Goose Players land in Bellows Falls

Director David Stern next to his Wild Goose players logo in the group’s new space in Bellows Falls. Photo by Bill Lockwood
Director David Stern next to his Wild Goose players logo in the group’s new space in Bellows Falls. Photo by Bill Lockwood

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Last summer David Stern, former Main Street Arts artistic director, and a number of local “theater people” formed a new theater company called the Wild Goose Players. Benefiting from the generous support of Next Stage Arts in Putney, which currently serves as their nonprofit fiscal agent handling ticketing and other administrative functions, Wild Goose has returned live theater to Next Stage’s programming.

Their first production, the delightful children’s musical “A Year With Frog and Toad,” opened this past summer outdoors at the Waypoint Center in Bellows Falls.

This month Stern and the company have added a new base of operations in a storefront at 7 Westminster St., just off the south end of the Square in Bellows Falls. The space provides room for a costume shop, scenery shop, and office, and a rehearsal space with a nice hardwood floor and a grand piano.

The name Wild Goose Players is based on the concept of the theater company being like a flock of wild geese who collectively lift themselves up as they fly along, encouraging each other toward future artistic endeavors. Other founding members and behind-the-scene regulars are Sandy Klein, Liz Guzynski, Chip O’Brien, Ed Dinnany, Morganna Ekkens, Ira Wilner, and John Haddon. They are among the ones Stern says “make it happen” in addition to the casts and crews.

Stern has a strong connection to Bellows Falls, having lived nearby in Westminster for over 20 years. Stern says he sees his company as part of this community as well as part of the Next Stage community. He says, “It’s all about collaborative work and being a presence in the community. We are so happy to be here. It feels like home.”

Stern is well known in Bellows Falls for bringing four big stage musicals over the past few years to the Bellows Falls Opera House including “Sweeney Todd,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and “Chicago.”

Twice the town let him use the empty storefront in the Opera House building as their costume shop.

Liz Guzynski says, “I have so many fond memories working in the storefront next to the Opera House during ‘Secret Garden’ and talking to people who would pop in out of curiosity, or to donate a prop, or perhaps get more involved.”

Extending that to the new space, she adds, “I hope many people become as connected to this [new] venue as we do.”

Of that new space just down the Square from the Opera House, Sandy Klein says, “The geese have landed! We love the idea of a gathering place for building things together, for gathering, and chatting, and eating with company and friends. To be in the heart of Bellows Falls means we get to be a part of the burgeoning art scene there.”

Wild Goose Players will present their work in both Bellows Falls and Putney, and throughout the region. Already they have presented “Frog and Toad” at the Waypoint Center, a fundraiser cabaret, “The Bellows Follies” with the Rotary at the Opera House last month, and a reading of Truman Capote’s touching story, “A Christmas Memory” last Saturday at Stage 33.

Stern will return to the Bellows Falls Opera House with a big stage musical, “Into the Woods” the last weekend in April and first in May this spring. Other plans include New Hampshire Public Radio’s Sean Hurley’s original play “Food and Shelter” at Next Stage in January and “Hamlet” next summer at a venue yet to be named. Information can be found at www.nextstagearts.org.

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