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Brandon Town Hall upstaged – again!

BRANDON — The stage has been set for the future of the Brandon Town Hall… literally.
Work has been completed on a new stage at the hall, thanks to a $14,250 matching Vermont Arts Council Cultural Facilities Grant The non-profit Friends of the Brandon Town Hall organization has put up $14,250 in matching funds toward the project in order to get the grant. In fact, the Friends have paid for the work, and will be reimbursed by the Arts Council.
FOBTH President Dennis Marden said Tim Shields Construction was contracted to do the work, which began on Dec. 4. The project was completed on Jan. 9.
Marden is thrilled with the results. Gone is the tongue-and-groove stage, original to the hall, which was built in 1861. Splinters, holes, and gaps were all part of performing on the old stage, Marden said.
“Ladies in heels would have a hard time,” Marden said. “Sometimes their heels would go right through the holes in the stage.”
In order to ensure that the stage would meet professional standards, Marden called Eric Mallete, executive director of the Paramount Theater in Rutland, and gave the materials list to Shields and his crew. It took 5,000 screws, a new plywood sub-floor and a ¾-inch fiberboard surface, plus three coats of matte black paint, to complete the new stage, which also extends out two feet farther into the hall.
“It was just remarkable, to watch them do this and come in everyday and see the progress,” Marden said.   In the span of one month, Tim Shields Construction ripped out the old tongue-and-groove stage at the Brandon Town Hall, top left, laid down a new plywood sub-floor and a 3/4 inch fiber board, middle left, and extended the stage out two more feet, top right. Roughly 5,000 screws were used to secure the new surface, with each screw hole meticulously caulked and sanded smooth, above. Finally, three coats of matte black stage paint was used to finish the job, left, which included new stairs downstage left, center, and right.
Photos by Dennis Marden
New steps were built on either side, as well as a new set of center steps going up to the stage.
“None of the steps were the same,” Marden said. “The run (the width) of the steps were all different. Some were 7 inches, some were 9… And now you can go down the stairs, and they don’t squeak.”
The new stairs make it much safer to do a show in the hall, and so does the improved backstage lighting. New LED proscenium lights were installed around the stage opening that shine onto the main curtain. New outlets were added along the downstage edge of the stage, and new blue LED lights were installed backstage on the stairs leading to the Green Room in the basement and over the prop shelves.
Two smaller stage platforms were rebuilt downstage left and downstage right, replacing the steps and uneven areas that existed previously.
“It gives us more acting and performance space out here,” Marden said. “It also gives us better acoustics.”
Better still, the new stage allows Marden to book dance acts thatcould not safely perform on the old stage. He already has 19 events booked overall for the 2018 season.
“It’s just wonderful,” Marden said. “It’s just exciting what’s happening here.”
For more information about the Brandon Town Hall, or to make a donation, visit www.brandontownhall.org.

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