Join us for a Haybarn Theatre Fundraiser featuring singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell on Sat, 04/05/2014 - 7:30pm. Read below to learn more about the Haybarn Theatre and our new fundraising efforts for renovations.
The Haybarn Theatre was built in 1868 by the Martin Family and was one of the largest barns in Central Vermont. The Haybarn was originally used to store hay, grain and livestock. In 1938, when Goddard College purchased Greatwood Farm, they began the process of turning the farm buildings into academic and student spaces. The Haybarn was renovated in order to provide a space for the performing arts. For almost 75 years the Haybarn Theatre has been the site of many different conferences and performances, including artists such as Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Savoy Brown, Phish, William Macy, David Mamet, Bread and Puppet, and many others.
For almost 75, years the Haybarn Theatre has been a place where the local community and the College come together to enjoy and appreciate the arts. This long tradition continues to this day as the Haybarn hosts educational conferences, student and community performances and the ongoing Goddard College Concert Series.
Vermont's Governor, Peter Shumlin, who attended a recent Goddard College Concert at the Haybarn Theatre, said,
"I have been impressed by the caliber of musicians Goddard College and the Haybarn Theatre Concert Series bring to Plainfield. It is wonderful to see the historic and renovated barn bring people together in support of the performing arts."
About the Haybarn Theatre Renovation Fund
The Haybarn Theatre is the fulcrum for Goddard's arts initiatives and is central to its educational mission. The theatre currently accommodates 317 standing and 200 seated. This renovation will increase seating capacity to 274, and address all other significant needed improvements to the Haybarn, making it a state-of-the-art venue for decades to come, and allow Goddard to serve its community with diverse public events. The project will be supported by a wide range of public and private funders. We have already received the competitive Cultural Facilities grant from the Vermont Arts Council, in the largest amount available, $30,000. In addition, we have raised $7,750 from individuals, and have received a commitment for a benefit concert by Vermont musician Anaïs Mitchell.
The Haybarn is in nearly constant use by members of the surrounding community, in part because Goddard's low-residency program allows its campus to be available for public use during much of the year. Local groups who regularly use the Haybarn include local schools, visual artists and performing groups such as Plainfield Little Theater, educational organizations including the Governor's Institutes, and more.
Increased use in recent years has made clear the need to improve this infrastructure and make the Haybarn more flexible and welcoming as a home for the arts. The existing lighting is decades-old, unwieldy to use, energy-intensive, and unsafe. Existing sound infrastructure, last updated in the 1970s, is minimal (supplementary equipment is rented for public performances).
Projected and budgeted renovations include:
- Permanently installed modern sound and lighting.
- Sound upgrades to include Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant improvements for hearing-impaired users.
- The creation of ADA compliant bathroom facilities to increase the comfort of all attendees, and further advance Goddard College's commitment to accessibility for all, by making available accessible facilities at all levels of the building.
- Renovations to the entryway, primarily moving the door (currently on one side) to a central point in the foyer, lined up with the stairs into the hall, will improve the flow of foot traffic.
- High-quality, whisper-quiet fans, built into the exterior walls, will effectively move warm air out and cool air in, making the venue viable, for the first time, for large-scale public events during the warm summer months. (This will greatly increase its use by the community, including the monthly concert series, whose summer events have been held outdoors, in rented tent space.)
With these improvements, The Haybarn Theatre will become more accessible and enjoyable for its diverse, year-round audiences, and for the world-class performers that entertain them, making the Haybarn an even more attractive space for public performances and community events of a scale, scope, and artistic ambition that is unusual for a rural venue.