Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Teago Grange Hall Reopens as The Grange Theatre

August 5, 2017
Pomfret, Vt.

The Teago Grange has re-opened its doors to the public as the newly renovated space-The Grange Theatre. Kathleen Dolan and the staff at ArtisTree in Pomfret have created a 100 seat air-conditioned state of the art theatre dedicated solely to community performance arts.




The word "Grange" is a trademark protected word so the theatre company had to petition the National Grange in Washington D.C. to use the word in their name. On Saturday, the Vermont State Grange Master, Brenda Rousselle from Essex Junction attended the open house at the request of the National Grange to look at the building and to follow up on the finished product. Renovations and restorations needed to be done properly in order to retain use of the name, "right now there's absolutely no problem at all, they did a beautiful job" said Rousselle.


Also attending the open house were former Grange members Ken Holden and Doris and Ray Roberts. Holden now living in Underhill was a member from 1962-1974. He had heard about the changes happening to his old grange and drove down to see what had been done. "I'm glad the building has survived and is being used. I'm sad it's not a Grange but this is good."

Doris and Ray Roberts who live up the road in Pomfret walked around the theatre and spoke to many of the ArtisTree staff. "It's wonderful, they've done such a good job" Doris said. Her grandfather was a deputy at the Grange and a member for 70 years. She has donated many artifacts to the theatre. She also has the original flag from the Grange Hall that she'd like to donate. "They saved the ticket booth" she said, tickets for the grange suppers used to be sold out of that window, now performance tickets will be sold there.

The theatre will seat about 100 people and opens Friday Aug.11 with a performance of "The Little Mermaid." Isabel Cellini, 10 from Cambridge Ma. will be performing in this very first show and said "I love it a lot. It's really pretty and really nice. I'm super excited to perform in it."

Jean Conklin, who grew up down the road said "My parents used to come to this Grange, I used to come for the suppers. I think it's very exciting and wonderful to have this building renovated for this wonderful experiment." She hopes to attend many of the performances.

"We saved the building" said Architect George Turner. The outside walls remained but the space has new windows, new flooring and the second floor was removed but the building is still standing at 65 Stage Road. "I love the idea of saving buildings" he said The renovations made allow the Grange members to still use the building if they'd like to host a supper.

Paul Galdone, an artist from Chelsea, has been watching the work take place, "I think it's really great to have a dedicated theatre. I've been to a lot of productions in Vermont that are squeezed into places that weren't made for performances. There aren't places like this out in the countryside. It's very exciting."