What It Is

  • A volunteer-run, nonprofit, intimate listening room in an industrial-rustic former factory turned creative economy incubator in Bellows Falls, Vermont. It’s not a plush theater or a state-of-the-art facility.
  • We record and film performers and presenters in an intimate live setting for multiple media platforms including web, radio, and TV.
  • It’s this one thing. It doesn’t piggyback on a coffeehouse, bar, club, or restaurant. It isn’t about getting people through the door to sell them drinks and food. It’s all about honoring the stage.
  • Amateurs and professionals are equally welcome. We’re mainly here for local and regional performers and presenters but the door is open to everyone.
  • Only original material is allowed, and it must be FCC-safe (rated PG).

Why we’re doing this:

  1. To help underserved talented and smart local and regional community members from all angles and of all ages find and grow their audience on multiple platforms.
  2. To entertain and educate both the live and downstream audiences, and inspire them in pursuing their creative and intellectual passions.
  3. In addition to boosting local pride by shining a light on our performing and academic communities, show a wide audience that Bellows Falls and the mid-Connecticut River Valley is an embracing and engaging destination for art and intellect.

Stage 33 Live documents performances and presentations on a simple stage in a former factory building for downstream web, radio, and TV audiences. Most sessions are also public listening events with admission by donation, although some are ticketed.

Only original material is allowed.

vintage radio program

We do this to help passionately creative and knowledgeable local and regional community members find ears and eyes on multiple platforms. Established performers and presenters are also welcome; their participation helps bring attention to others still getting their foot in the door.

We’re not a plush theater or a state-of-the-art facility. We’re not a club or a restaurant. Just good folks doing this one fine thing — the homegrown love child of Tiny Desk Concerts, Ted Talks, Science Friday, Midnight Special, and The Little Rascals.

Our listening events turn the band-in-a-bar ethos upside-down: It’s all about honoring the stage — not sticking it in the corner and talking over it, or using it as an add-on to get people through the door to sell them drinks and food. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that; it’s just not what we do.

The listening events are a lot like house concerts or parlor readings, but in a big room in an old factory. Delightfully intimate, very informal. We have 40 folding chairs available, plus standing room. We can’t serve alcohol without hiring a licensed caterer (which we can’t afford to do), we don’t qualify for the libraries-and-galleries wine-and-beer legal loophole, and BYOB isn’t allowed — people who absolutely have to get their drink on will be disappointed. Others, however, will appreciate it.

We think the rough edges and restrictions complement the glory and guts of the thing.

33 Bridge St

Stage 33 Live is driven by the best parts of post-industrial small-town rural New England come-together and can-do Yankee bootstrap ingenuity and hard work. We’re an independent, unaffiliated, unfunded, local nonprofit that relies on donations, underwriting, and sponsorships to exist and improve. Everyone involved is a volunteer: before, during, and after, offstage and onstage. We hope that will change, but for now our economy is part barter and mostly volunteer. In addition to the media production and distribution that we provide, participants are encouraged to use the documentation however they see fit to promote the thing that they do.

Nearly everything that Stage 33 Live has hosted has been the result of performers or presenters reaching out to us. This means that the people on the stage, like the people in the audience, are there because they want to be and chose to be. Each is motivated for the other, the ideal symbiosis.

vintage recording equipment

Equipment upgrades and infrastructure improvements are ongoing, with an eagle eye on cost-benefit. We don’t need or want bells and whistles, but the lowest level of technology required to do a task well still isn’t necessarily dirt cheap.

We don’t want to be one of those organizations that relies forever and entirely on largesse and philanthropy and grants to exist, but for the time being that’s how it is. When the finished documentation becomes widely available (locally produced programming that celebrates homegrown talent and culture is desirable stuff to regional broadcasters), sponsors and underwriters will recognize Stage 33 Live as both a good outreach vehicle and halo source.

We suck at the ask, but we believe that what we’re doing is important and worthy. If you think what we’re doing is important and worthy too, we’ll be so grateful for your support.

Freewill donations can be made online via PayPal (you don’t need a PayPal account).

Or cash or checks payable to “Stage 33 Live” can be dropped off at any Stage 33 Live event, or checks mailed to our administrative address: Stage 33 Live; 8-A Atkinson St; Bellows Falls VT 05101.

Stage 33 Live Ltd’s nonprofit EIN is 82-2349941.

Bellows Falls on the map

While Bellows Falls is rich in culture and nature (we love this place), it has the lowest per capita and median household income of any incorporated village in southern Vermont, and a poverty rate topping 25% — yet the community has rallied to support this project by supporting the physical and technical infrastructure, providing experience-based advice, volunteering time and muscle, and more.

In addition to boosting local pride by shining a light on our performing and academic communities, Stage 33 Live contributes to the local and regional economy by showing a wide audience that the southern Vermont and New Hampshire borderlands is an embracing and engaging destination for art and intellect.

We hope to eventually be able to provide at least one paid position in our community, and stipends for performers and presenters.

33 Bridge Street in Bellows Falls, Vermont, is the ADA compliant venue for Stage 33 Live. Seating capacity is limited to an intimate 40, first come first served. Standing room is available after the seats are filled; it’s also OK to bring your own chair as long as you take it back home with you afterward. 33 Bridge Street is a creative economy incubator owned and operated by The Island Corporation; Stage 33 is not a venue for hire through Stage 33 Live.