Town Hall Theater Breaks Ground On Expansion; Ground-Breaking Celebration On December 12

Town hall theater expansion groundbreaking marks a new chapter for the venue.

By: Nov. 29, 2023
Town Hall Theater Breaks Ground On Expansion; Ground-Breaking Celebration On December 12

Town Hall Theater Breaks Ground On Expansion; Ground-Breaking Celebration On December 12

On a cold October day in 2007, a group of people holding shovels broke ground for the restoration of Middlebury's historic Town Hall.

“It was a real leap of faith,” says THT founder Douglas Anderson.  “Would anybody come to our new theater?  Would it be a success?”

He needn't have worried.  Since its opening in 2008, over 500,000 people have come through its doors.  THT now hosts over 160 events a year and is one of the busiest small-town theaters in the country.

“We're so successful that we simply can't meet the demand,” says THT Executive Director Lisa Mitchell.  “It was clear that if we're going to be generationally sustainable and continue to serve the community in many different ways, we needed to find more space.”

Town Hall Theater's second big dream begins on Tuesday, December 12 at 12:30 pm, when ground is broken on a new 7000 sq. ft. expansion.

The new wing will create three much-needed rooms:  a rehearsal studio (which doubles as a room for parties and small performances), a scene shop, and a center for education for people of all ages.  “Theaters everywhere have these rooms,” says Anderson.  “They're essential. It's amazing that we've functioned for so long without them.”

A fourth “room” will be a welcoming outdoor plaza, a place for performances, food trucks, and a cup of coffee on a summer day.  “I'm telling everyone that the plaza is my favorite room,” says Mitchell. “It will be the perfect place for free events and receptions and just hanging out on a beautiful afternoon.  I think this will be a real gathering place for the entire community.”

THT has engaged Bread Loaf Corporation to design and construct the building.  Architect Jim Pulver has designed a modern building that uses traditional details and materials to fit into Middlebury's historic townscape.  “It's a new building,” says Mitchell, “but it looks like it was always there.”

The ground-breaking celebration will feature short speeches by people who have been essential in getting THT to this point.  Anderson and Mitchell are quick to point out that there's still work to be done.  THT has raised 80% of the $7.8 million price tag, and is launching the public phase of the capital campaign concurrent with the ground-breaking.  “We still need everyone's help to get this across the finish line,” says Anderson.

Everyone is welcome to the top of Merchants Row for the historic ground-breaking celebration.  Tuesday, December 12.  12:30 pm.



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