Update, March 2021: It’s been over a year. Our postponements now officially extend through the end of spring 2021. This summer’s Covid guidance for indoor venues is expected to be the same as it was last summer’s. And none of us Stage 33 Live volunteers have been able to get vaccinated yet.
Stage 33 Live is a welcoming, casual, scrappy but well-mannered nonprofit listening room in an industrial-rustic former factory with 40 folding chairs, run by chipper upstart adult volunteers on an island in the rural Vermont village of Bellows Falls on the Connecticut River bordering New Hampshire.
Imagine a state-of-the-art, million-dollar performance center… got it? That’s not us. We’re also not a bar, club, or restaurant. But we’re not savages either – there’s coffee, soda, water, and snacks by donation.
We’re real, we operate on a human scale, yet our boots-on-the-ground core team and advisers bring a couple hundred years’ worth of experience in this stuff to the table. How such a thing improbably coalesced here in the sticks is a mystery.
We started this for our own local and regional composing musicians and spoken word presenters of original work. Along the way, we’ve attracted the attention of a whack of performers bigger than we are who asked to come play too. Very cool.
The room has mostly defined itself as an acoustic folk/Americana singer-songwriter place, but we run jazz, pop, spoken word, rock, and more. Best way to be in the loop about what and when things are happening is to sign up for the email newsletter.
Although our listening events are intimate and informal and friendly, they’re rarely a good environment for squalling babies, ADHD kiddos, or disruptive adults. It’s all about honoring the stage. Cell phones off, pop a lozenge if you’ve got a cough, be attentive. Applaud like crazy though! Cheer a great solo, laugh loud at a good joke, or groan at a bad one. Heck, heckle in good nature if it seems appropriate. But honor the stage.
Seating is limited to 40 folding chairs – first come, first served. A dozen of them are padded, the rest aren’t. Some people bring their own chair pads. After the chairs are full, there’s standing room. It’s OK to bring your own chair, as long as you take it back home with you when you leave.
Only original material written by the performers themselves is allowed. Or public domain stuff. We host local, regional, and national professionals and amateurs alike, and we record and film them in the act for a radio/TV/internet program we’re working up – the homegrown love child of Tiny Desk Concerts, Ted Talks, Science Friday, and The Midnight Special, infused with the naive enthusiasm The Little Rascals.
We’re super far behind on the editing and cutting. We’re working on trying to get better cameras.
Everything we host is because somebody reached out to us. We don’t use a booking service, and we don’t solicit performers. The people on the stage and the people in the audience are both there because they chose to be there for each other. It’s a beautiful symbiosis.
If you’re a performer, this means that you shouldn’t wait for an invitation because it won’t come. Take a look at the “For Performers” page and then get in touch if you’re into it.