- What’s a “listening room”?
- How do I get tickets?
- How do I reserve seats?
- Is there a dress code?
- Can I take pictures and get autographs and stuff?
- Are you pet-friendly?
- Are you kid-friendly?
- Where can I park when I get there?
- Is it handicap accessible?
- Can I BYOB?
- Where can I nosh and/or libate before and/or after?
- Where can I stay?
- History of 33 Bridge Street
- 33 Bridge Street today
- Renting the performance space
- Are Stage 33 Live and WOOL-FM the same thing?
- I’ve got a great idea for Stage 33 Live!
- How can I volunteer?
- I am still bewildered by Stage 33 Live
What’s a “listening room”?
It’s a place where people come to be immersed in what’s happening on the stage.
Talking or being loud or otherwise disruptive during a performance or presentation is disrespectful to the artist and the rest of the audience, and it will earn glares and shushes. Do send a gentle shush at anybody who needs it — and if you get a gentle shush, gently shush. People usually aren’t problem-causers on purpose.
This kind of deep engagement isn’t for everybody though. Some people are happier in a bar scene, and that’s OK. There are bars within easy walking distance of us.
This isn’t to suggest that we’re a bunch of dour schoolmarms. Reward a performance with great exuberance, absolutely! Was that solo outstanding? — yes, cheer like crazy! Was that joke funny? Laugh your head off! (Was that joke lame? Groan long and loud.) Band wants you to clap along, sing along? Go for it with gusto, even if you’re off-tempo and out of tune.
But in general, keep in mind that with only one exception the world consists of other people, and you’re not who they came to listen to.
How do I get tickets?
Many shows are pay-at-the-door, non-ticketed events. But for shows with advance ticket sales, advance tickets are only available through our website… and only through the end the day before the show, or when they’re completely sold out (whichever comes first). There are no actual tickets — we keep a will-call list at the door, somebody will check you in. All you have to do is show up (with some kind of ID just in case). We only have 40 chairs, and can’t guarantee seating with tickets purchased at the door. Best to get them ahead of time.
All sales are final… but if a show gets cancelled due to weather or illness, we’ll offer refunds or a carry-over to the new date if the show has been rescheduled.
We recognize that not everybody in our low-income community has a credit or debit card, and that some people won’t do online purchases just because. If this is you and you want advance tickets to make sure you have seating, leave us a phone or text message at 802-289-0148 or send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll figure something out.
Do we take credit cards at the door? We don’t.
A note on the topic of tickets: We work with the artists in setting the cost to 1) keep the prices as low as possible, and 2) try to compensate them reasonably, which they deserve.
How do I reserve seats?
So basically, the answer is that chairs are reserved for advance-ticket holders but there are no specifically reserved seats, and sometimes the front rows are reserved for premium ticket-holders.
We have 40 chairs plus standing room. We’ll only ever sell 40 advance tickets in total, and the chairs are intended for advance-ticket holders. If 40 advance tickets have sold, we’ll still accept a limited number of walk-ups for standing room. Or you can bring your own chair to set up behind the house chairs. If 40 tickets haven’t been sold by show time, walk-ups are welcome to have a seat.
Is there a dress code?
Clothes and shoes. And respect. Don’t wear (or do) anything that’s meant to be — or has the effect of being — harassing, demeaning, intimidating, or threatening to any other person. And no weapons. This isn’t a public building, these restrictions are no infringement of any constitutional right.
(If that makes it sound like there’s been problems, there hasn’t been. Not a single one. Everybody’s been awesome. But as this gets typed, the world seems to be spiraling into ever-more-nutso territory so we thought it might be good to spell it out.)
Can I take pictures and get autographs and stuff?
Usually cellphone or consumer-camera pics and short clips are OK, but definitely no flash or fill. If the artist doesn’t want any photography or like-that at all, we’ll advise with as much notice as possible… but most of them are cool with it. Professional photographers should always ask for approval in advance as a courtesy to the artist, we’ll run it by them for their OK. If you get some good shots we’d love it if you’d share them with us.
So far everyone we’ve hosted has been super-willing to meet-and-greet, and lots of them will have merchandise for sale that they’re happy to sign. Feel free to linger after the show to hobnob with the bigwigs!
Are you pet-friendly?
Only service animals are allowed, out of courtesy to the rest of the audience (and the performers) who might have allergies or phobias.
And a note for people with allergies or phobias: One of the artist-tenants has a studio cat, and a couple others bring their dogs to work sometimes. These animals don’t roam the building, but they’re in the building either part-time or full-time.
Are you kid-friendly?
We do like kiddos… but this being a listening room, we ask you to be considerate of the performers and the rest of the audience. Squalling babies and ADHD ankle-biters — and disruptive adults too — are a poor fit.
Where can I park when I get there?
There’s a free parking lot across the street diagonally from us, next to the canal. Best not to park at the building right across the street, tempting as it is.
Is it handicap accessible?
Yes. Posted handicap parking is at the base of the ramp leading to the front door. There’s a small door threshold to negotiate getting into the building, but everything inside is flat. The restroom adjoining the space is also accessible.
If you’re a performer with physical disabilities that prevent you from getting onto our low stage (about 8″), we can move the audience back and have you in front of the stage. It works just fine.
For those with severe MCS or scent allergies, you should know that there’s an artisan soapmaker in the far reaches of the building. We never notice anything wafting, but a sensitive attendee did once. Not enough to cause them a problem, but enough for them to notice and mention.
Can I BYOB?
No. (Refer to the 33 Bridge Street House Rules that we need to abide by.) You can bring in your own food though. Maybe not durian or strong fish.
Where can I nosh and/or libate before and/or after?
There’s a range of choices that are walkable from our place. Business hours aren’t noted here because they sometimes change arbitrarily and without notice… best to contact them in advance. Several don’t have websites (!), but do have some kind of online presence — Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. There’s a couple good breakfast/lunch-only places included because sometimes we have matinees. Presented here in order of distance from Stage 33 Live.
Subway, 61 Square
ubiquitous chain restaurant
2-minute walk, 450 feet
Popolo, 36 Square
modern Italian restaurant & bar
4-minute walk, .1 mile
Wunderbar, 22 Rockingham St
surprisingly urbane bar with Tapas menu
4-minute walk, .2 mile
Moon Dog Cafe, 24 Rockingham St
healthy, hearty breakfast and lunch
4-minute walk, .2 mile
Donovan’s, 65 Rockingham St
Irish bar with food
5-minute walk, .3 mile
Miss Bellows Falls, 90 Rockingham St
breakfast and lunch diner
6-minute walk, .3 mile
PK’s Irish Pub, 113 Rockingham St
7-minute walk, .4 mile
Pizza Palace, 111 Rockingham St
pizza & comfort food
7-minute walk, .4 mile
Athens Pizza, 83 Westminster St
pizza & comfort food
8-minute walk, .4 mile
China Garden, 117 Rockingham St
8-minute walk, .4 mile
Dari-Joy, 140 Rockingham St
comfort food & ice cream – seasonal
11-minute walk, .5 mile
Famous Pizza, 89 Atkinson St
pizza & comfort food
13-minute walk, .6 mile
Lisai’s Corner Deli, 92 Atkinson St
deli and groceries, breakfast / lunch
13-minute walk, .6 mile
Lola’s Pizzeria, 16 Church St, North Walpole
pizza & comfort food
14-minute walk, .7 miles
Here are a few more that are a little bit farther afield that you’d probably wanna drive to.
Joy Wah, 287 Rockingham St
Father’s, 7079 US-5
American diner fare
Leslie’s Tavern, 660 Rockingham Rd
sit-down dining, get reservations
The Hungry Diner, 9 Edwards Ln, Walpole
Smokin’ Bowls, 831 Rockingham Rd
well-loved drive-up soups and comfort food
The Restaurant at Burdicks, 47 Main St, Walpole
sit-down French, make reservations
Where can I stay? (B&Bs, hotels, camping)
Want to make a weekend of it? Good call. The nearest population centers to us are Brattleboro VT and Keene NH (either is about 30 minutes drive) and they have bunches of options that you can Google up. The lovely village of Chester VT (20 minutes) has quite a cluster as well. Here’s a starter list of others to check out.
Harvest Barn Inn, 16 Webb Terrace
Rodeway Inn, 593 Rockingham Rd
Bellows Walpole Inn, 297 Main St, Walpole NH
bellowswalpoleinn.com 603-756-3320, 603-904-4022
Saxtons River Inn, 27 Main St, Saxtons River VT
Yagna Inn, 61 Williams Rd, Rockingham VT
The Inn at Valley Farms, 633 Wentworth Rd, Walpole NH
Best Western, 818 Charlestown Rd, Springfield VT
Grafton Inn, 92 Main St, Grafton VT
Hartness House, 30 Orchard St, Springfield VT
Tree Farm Campground, 53 Skitchewaug Trl, Springfield VT
The Putney Inn, 57 Putney Landing Rd, Putney VT
History of 33 Bridge Street
33 Bridge Street in Bellows Falls, Vermont, is the building that Stage 33 Live calls home. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Moore and Thompson mill complex occupies a sloping site at the south end of the Island, just east of downtown Bellows Falls between the Great Falls of the Connecticut River and the canal (one of the first canals in the United States, completed in 1802). Construction of the mill complex began in 1880.
By the turn of the century, the company produced twenty tons of paper daily. The mill played a leading role in the industry that dominated Bellows Falls’ economy through the 1920s.
In 1914, Moore and Thompson leased water rights from the canal to the Bellows Falls Electric Company. In exchange, the paper company received electricity, and the complex still gets its power under the terms of that lease.
The principal building on the upper level — where Stage 33 Live is located — was completed in 1925 for the manufacture of paper bags.
In 1963, Moore and Thompson closed the mill. They attributed it to a variety of factors, but a Bellows Falls Times editorial at the time indicated that the company had simply joined the contemporary industrial exodus from New England’s antiquated infrastructure: “New plant facilities and machinery and ample supplies of wood pulp make the Florida plant more economical.”
An attempt by a new owner at reviving the production of paper goods followed in 1964 but didn’t outlast the decade; the machinery and equipment were subsequently removed from the buildings early in the 1970s.
In 1974, the complex was adapted to the manufacture of furniture and experienced a revival of activity until the failure of that venture in 1981.
33 Bridge Street today
33 Bridge Street is a creative economy incubator owned and operated by The Island Corporation. The tenants are primarily but not exclusively fine artists and artisan manufacturers. Direct inquiries to The Island Corporation by phone at 802-463-9926.
Renting the performance space
The performance space is in a common area shared by the building tenants, and Stage 33 Live operates in full cooperation with and at the prior approval of the building owners, managers, and tenants. We have no sublet authority — all use inquiries must be presented to The Island Corporation by phone at 802-463-9333.
For your convenience and reference, here are the building owners’ house rules:
The common room at 33 Bridge Street is for the use and enjoyment of 33 Bridge Street tenants. Any use must not interfere with any of the other tenants’ use of the space, and must be cleared by management and with the other tenants prior to the use. From time to time, non-tenants are allowed to use the space. All tenant and non-tenant use must comply with these restrictions:
- Any requests for use of the Common Room for tenant or non-tenant exhibits, activities, receptions, etc., MUST be scheduled in advance with Dorothy Read, 802-463-9333.
- Exhibitors will be asked to sign an indemnification form. This is an unguarded space and open to the public. 33 Bridge Street, The Island Corporation, and the tenants assume no responsibility.
- Commercial exhibitors may be asked to contribute a 10% fee on any sales. This fee would be used to support a local non-profit.
- Children also use this space, and any work will be reviewed for appropriateness for all ages. No nude exhibitions, etc.
- All exhibits, shows, receptions, etc., must keep lanes of travel open to the tenants.
- No exclusive use of the space is to be expected unless cleared with the building owners and the tenants.
- Handicapped parking must be kept clear.
- All fire exits must remain clear.
- Any organization NOT a legal tenant of 33 Bridge Street must provide proof of liability insurance.
- Any hanging artwork must use the provided rail system. No nail holes allowed, and absolutely nothing hanging from the ceilings, sprinkler pipes, lighting fixtures, etc.
- All materials must be removed by the day agreed, and space left clean.
- NO SMOKING is allowed anywhere in the building.
- NO ALCOHOL will be served at any event unless approved by management AND provided only by a licensed alcohol vendor. No private pouring.
Are Stage 33 Live and WOOL-FM the same thing?
No, but we’re friends and neighbors. And there’s a line of descent: Stage 33 Live was founded by a longtime volunteer at Black Sheep Radio (the community radio station, 91.5 on your FM dial or streaming from www.wool.fm), and they’re both in the same building. But they’re distinct and separate legal entities, with their own boards, charters, missions, equipment, and budgets. Each one is fully autonomous.
I’ve got a great idea for Stage 33 Live!
We totally wanna hear it! There’s always room for improvement and freshness. And the more details you’ve got worked out, the better. You should know, though, that in most cases if there’s more than a sliver of time or energy or money involved and it can’t be easily folded into the existing flow of things, chances are it’ll probably end up pretty far down the list. We’re mere humans doing the very best full-tilt flat-out volunteer work we can do. Also, the limits of what we’re allowed to do in and to the real estate are fairly restrictive, so we won’t be painting day-glo murals on the walls or anything.
How can I volunteer?
Heck, just ask. We can usually use at least a couple extra people on show days to help before, during, and after with pretty easy stuff. We kindly ask that if you do volunteer, please show up and please actually help. (Yeah, it’s been a problem once or twice.)
I am still bewildered by Stage 33 Live
Us too, a lot of the time.
We were tickled when we saw this social-media exchange:
“WTF is Stage 33 Live?”
“It’s a secret room where amazing things happen.”
We’re an occasional venue, and not a full-time anything. We try to go above and beyond, but we’re in no danger of being mistaken for a big-dollar performance center. There’s no bar, BYOB isn’t allowed, and there’s no kitchen — but there’s non-alcoholic drinks and unpredictable, generally unhealthy processed snacks available by donation. We operate on a shoestring, but have accomplished one heckuva lot since push-starting this thing. We can squeeze a penny like nobody’s business.
Our main mission is trying to help local and regional performers and presenters find attentive and appreciative audiences; and our second main mission is to offer Bellows Falls people (and anybody else who wants to come to shows) a range of good and good-hearted talent; and our third main mission is to contribute to lifting up, in our own small way, the reputation and visibility of Bellows Falls and the mid-Connecticut River Valley as a cool and talented and smart place to come and check out and drop a few bucks into the local economy.
What those things have in common is that they ain’t about us. There are lots of reasons to check out this area, we’re just one of them. In fact, here’s a list of performance centers and theater groups within 25 driving miles of Stage 33 Live. We’ve kept the list mostly to nonprofits. Some are backed by big money, but most struggle financially like we do. Art galleries aren’t included, or clubs and bars where performance is an add-on rather than the main thing… but those are definitely around too. Libraries with active schedules are included because libraries are cool. There’s undoubtedly deserving places we’ve overlooked. There are places that fall just outside the arbitrary 25-mile cutoff, but a line’s gotta be drawn somewhere. The list is in order of driving distance from Stage 33 Live.
Bellows Falls Opera House
7 The Square, Bellows Falls VT
Rockingham Free Public Library
65 Westminster St, Bellows Falls VT
Main Street Arts
35 Main St, Saxtons River VT
The Springfield Community Players
165 South St, Springfield VT
Putney Public Library
55 Main St, Putney VT
49 Main St, Putney VT
Next Stage Arts Project
15 Kimball Hill, Putney VT
17 Kimball Hill, Putney VT
Mole Hill Theatre
789 Gilsum Mine Rd, Alstead NH
Claremont Opera House
58 Opera House Square, Claremont NH
World Under Wonder
5755 US-5, Windsor VT
Keene Public Library
3 Washington St, Keene NH
The Colonial Theatre
95 Main St, Keene NH
Brooks Memorial Library
224 Main St, Brattleboro VT
Stone Church Brattleboro
210 Main St, Brattleboro VT
190 Main St, Brattleboro VT
Redfern Arts Center
229 Main St, Keene NH
Brattleboro Music Center
72 Blanche Moyse Way, Brattleboro VT
118 Elliot St, Brattleboro VT
New England Youth Theatre
100 Flat Street, Brattleboro VT
50 Main St, Brattleboro VT
25 miles exactly
This FAQ and Trivia will be a work in progress forever. Feel free to hip us to the obvious things we missed. firstname.lastname@example.org