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Opening the Doors to Southern Vermont

The 2018 Puppets in the Green Mountain Festival theme is Opening the Doors, which, for us, has a number of meanings.  In addition to our Social Justice context, in which we address equity, inclusivity, and access, we are also happy to be opening the doors of our Southern Vermont community to visitors and guests, especially our puppeteer colleagues from around the region.  From our first Puppets in the Green Mountains festival in 1997, one of our goals has been to create ways for visiting artists and audience to meet our towns and our people, try local foods, and enjoy the diversity of landscapes, architecture, industry, and activities that help define who we are.

To this end, the Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival moves between towns in our area.  Brattleboro and Putney, 10 miles apart, are the anchors of our festival, with performances in several different venues.  Brattleboro, our county’s largest town (pop. 12,046) offers a variety of architecture, from classic New England brick to the fabulous Art Deco design of the historic Latchis Theater.  Some of Brattleboro’s eateries offer lovely views of the Connecticut River, with its bridges, boating, and the wonderful “Meadows” of reeds and wildlife.  Our Brattleboro venues include the newly renovated Latchis with its iconic Greek statue décor, the dynamic New England Youth Theatre (just a short walk up the block), and the new theater at Hilltop Montessori School, a short drive to the outskirts of town.  Brattleboro also offers unique shops of local crafts, thrift shops, book stores (new and used), craft breweries, and every kind of outdoor gear!

Between Brattleboro and Putney, the School for International Training (SIT) campus sits on a beautiful hill, just minutes from the Scott Farm (where Cider House Ruleswas filmed) and the historic Naulakha, the home that Rudyard Kipling build and where he wrote The Jungle Book and created “snow golf.”

There are several ways to drive from Brattleboro to Putney, a mere 10 miles. The drive on Interstate 91 takes about 12 minutes. Or you can take route 5, a few minutes longer, and drive past the fields and woods of Dummerston or take the back roads of Dummerston along the West River (route 30), crossing into Putney over the historic West Dummerston Covered Bridge.

Putney itself is the home of Sandglass Theater and our neighbor, the beautifully restored Next Stage Arts Project in the former historic United Church, a festival performance venue and art gallery.  Putney (pop.2,702) offers a range of eateries, including the General Store (the first general store in Vermont, established in 1796).  Basketville, just around the corner, sells Vermont Lifestyle products and baskets from around the world, and hosts the Putney Mountain Winery’s delicious products. And there are a number of nice walks around Putney, including one that passes the wetlands of Sand Hill and it’s beaver pond! Putney is also home to many crafts people: potters, woodworkers, weavers, glassblowers, and more. Putney established the first open studio tour in the country. And if you come in September, it will be apple season, and Putney’s Green Mountain Orchard has exceptional pies and apple cider donuts.

Please come and join us in Southern Vermont for our 2018 Puppets in the Green Mountains/P of A Regional Homecoming combined festival.  We would love to Open the Doors to you.

We hope to see you here.

Eric, Shoshana, Kirk (The PGM Producers)