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Art Notes: The Pilgrims to perform ‘last’ show Saturday in Hanover
04-10-2024 5:01 PM

By ALEX HANSON

The journalism and the arts can meet at a fraught crossroads. One relies on facts and on creating an account as close to the truth as possible in the time available. The other is interested in truths that are more personal, less grounded, and time...

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East Bethel Community Church is reborn
04-05-2024 8:04 PM

By ALEX HANSON

EAST BETHEL — From their cars, parked in a neat row on the grass outside, worshipers walked through the front door of the village’s stately, 200-year-old brick church for a symbolic rebirth.Not only was it Easter Sunday, but some of the 30 or so...


Art Notes: We the People opens big musical Friday night
04-03-2024 5:31 PM

By ALEX HANSON

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — In its relatively short history, We the People Theatre has specialized in sweeping musical theater projects, starting with productions of “1776” and “Working.” The coronavirus pandemic put an end to the company’s momentum,...


Theater Review: Northern Stage’s ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ delivers constant laughs
03-19-2024 4:31 PM

By ALEX HANSON

Like any art form, theater can carry a lot of ideological freight. Mercifully, sometimes it just entertains and amuses.And sometimes, it entertains so thoroughly that you forget everything but the present spectacle. That’s what Northern Stage’s...


Former Valley News publisher challenged newsroom to seek continuous improvement
03-15-2024 10:01 PM

By ALEX HANSON

John Kuhns arrived at the Valley News at a big moment for the small, busy newspaper.His predecessor as publisher, Willmott “Bin” Lewis, announced in January 1993 that he would step down that spring with Kuhns to replace him. Just before Kuhns started,...


Theater Review: Shaker Bridge’s ‘The Minutes’ illustrates value of unvarnished truth
03-12-2024 6:01 PM

By ALEX HANSON

Having spent untold hours in selectboard and city council meeting rooms around the Upper Valley, I’ve often joked that it would be more fun to write about the meetings held in them as if they were theater, rather than just the mostly humdrum work of...


Voters in Royalton and Bethel easily approve school budget
03-05-2024 4:54 PM

By ALEX HANSON

BETHEL — It’s a rare annual meeting at which the controversial issues are raised in the “other business” portion just before adjournment.After passing a budget of nearly $14.4 million by a vote of 98-28 on Monday evening, voters from Bethel and...


Strafford, Chelsea, Tunbridge and Sharon mull school budget cuts
02-29-2024 4:07 PM

By ALEX HANSON

Two White River Valley school districts that canceled their annual budget votes will resume discussions at school board meetings in the coming days.Both the Strafford and First Branch Unified school districts opted to call off their planned budget...


Art Notes: Longtime Lebanon photographer ‘doesn’t want that kind of exposure’
02-21-2024 10:01 PM

By ALEX HANSON

Larry Vanier started taking photographs as a hobby. He already enjoyed hiking and being outdoors, so it was natural to him to start taking a camera along.This was in the 1970s and early ’80s, the apex of film photography. The Upper Valley had a robust...


A Life: Mary Shatney ‘had become a fixture in White River’
02-18-2024 9:01 PM

By ALEX HANSON

Sometimes, a patron would come into the Polka Dot Restaurant and ask, “How much is coffee and a doughnut.”Mary Shatney knew what that question meant and would point to an open seat. Often, she’d make a plate of food — eggs, toast and home fries, maybe...


Art Notes: Upper Valley filmmaker’s debut premiering at WRIF festival
02-14-2024 9:01 PM

By ALEX HANSON

Loren David Howard started making movies the way a lot of teens do, by recording concerts his dad took him to and making videos of friends out skateboarding.He didn’t expect to make much out of it, but after a school counselor advised him to think...


Art Notes: Lebanon Opera House, Chandler Music Hall reopen following renovations
01-31-2024 9:46 PM

By ALEX HANSON

A pair of the most venerable and active Upper Valley performance venues, Lebanon Opera House and Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall, are reopening in the next week after renovations.The opera house, which will reopen with a refreshed lobby and new seats...


Hanover High drama club to stage play about Ukrainian teens during invasion
01-30-2024 9:00 PM

By ALEX HANSON

HANOVER — During a rehearsal at Hanover High School a couple of weeks ago, a handful of young actors recited lines an Upper Valley audience wouldn’t expect to hear spoken on a high school stage.“That’s when I had my first panic attack.” “The scariest...


Art Notes: Real-life couple brings a ‘cosmic love story’ to life at Northern Stage
01-24-2024 9:00 PM

By ALEX HANSON

Some partnerships seem destined from the start. A pair of elementary school friends who get married out of college and stay together forever, or Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, to consider just two scenarios.But most people in enduring relationships...


Marion Cross School sees significant teacher turnover 
12-09-2023 11:36 PM

By ALEX HANSON

Among teaching jobs in the Upper Valley, landing a post at Marion Cross School in Norwich has long been considered a plum.One of the wealthiest towns in the state, and with a high level of education attributable in part to its proximity to Dartmouth...


Art Notes: Actor Dan Butler revives a 30-year-old play about gay life
12-07-2023 1:48 AM

By ALEX HANSON

There is something humbling, and a bit exciting, about seeing one’s work turn into a period piece during one’s lifetime. It’s a reflection not on the work but on the pace of change.Thirty years ago, life was very different for LGBTQ Americans. “Don’t...


Trump’s planned Claremont visit catches some residents, visitors unaware
11-10-2023 9:37 PM

By ALEX HANSON

CLAREMONT — One of the most talked-about politicians in recent memory is bringing his campaign to the city on Saturday.But not many Claremont residents seem all that eager to talk about him. A reporter strolling around town Wednesday encountered three...


Art Notes: Parish Players awaits ticket sales proceeds from online vendor
11-10-2023 3:34 AM

By ALEX HANSON

For a small community theater, Parish Players has had some pretty big shows over the last year.Last fall, a production of “The Play That Goes Wrong,” filled the house, as did the annual festival of 10-minute plays in February. And in April, a...


Fueled by federal funds, Upper Valley outdoor education opportunities grow
10-15-2023 2:57 AM

By ALEX HANSON

SOUTH STRAFFORD — The assignment for a Newton School first grade class on a recent Tuesday morning started with a walk.Before the 16 pupils began to climb the hill behind the school, Becky Proulx, an outdoor educator, warned them to stay away from a...


Art Notes: Upper Valley offers varied entertainment options
10-13-2023 8:01 PM

By ALEX HANSON

The sheer number of options is going to pose problems for people who want to be entertained away from their streaming services this weekend. You’re going to have to make some decisions, people.The good thing, I guess, is that the quantity is matched...


Art Notes: Family makes new home for art in Windsor
08-31-2023 4:47 PM

By ALEX HANSON

For a long time, Angie Follensbee-Hall carried in the back of her mind the idea of opening an art gallery with a studio attached.She saw it as a place where she could both make and show her art work, which consists of her own handmade paper combined...

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