Air quality concerns cancel summer shows for the Stowe Theatre Guild

Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - It looks like the show won’t go on for now. Air quality concerns have forced the Stowe Theatre Guild to cancel the rest of its summer season.

“Memories, memories for so many people,” Stowe Selectboard Member Jo Sabel Courtney said.

That’s why Courtney hopes for the Stowe Theatre Guild to make a comeback.

“It’ll come back, absolutely, it’s too important, it’s too important to the people of this town, it’s too important to the visitors that come here. This location in the village has been a boon for restaurants and businesses,” she said.

Courtney says it’s not just an average theater.

“It’s your quintessential downtown community theater in a historic building,” Courtney said.

Sitting above the town hall, the theater has been around since 1995, breeding Broadway stars.

“Not to mention you learn a little bit of acting, hopefully you have some musical talent and some dance talent and that all gets honed,” Courtney said.

Stowe Town Manager Charles Safford says they are working with a mechanical engineer to help the theater become a safe environment for actors to work. A broken air conditioning and air handling system doesn’t allow air to circulate properly, leading to air quality concerns.

“It may take a period of time for the mechanical engineer to do his/her work. There is a lot of demand for those services throughout Vermont particularly exacerbated by the flood,” Safford said.

Courtney says she is aware the theater does not have the best infrastructure.

“But it becomes community and we make it work and it’s phenomenal,” Courtney said.

She sees the growth in the performers and in herself and says the theater is a happy place.

“So much confidence has been built in children and all of us on this stage,” she said. “And so much joy out there and so much joy that comes back to you when you perform. So, it’s a great way to spend your summer, it’s a great way to spend your life.”

Officials are unsure when the new air handling unit will be installed but they hope to start filling seats again soon.