Dibden offers an eclectic mix


A new season is underway at Dibden Center for the Arts on the NVU-Johnson campus. With the fall semester half over, students have had the opportunity to attend performances for free.

Timothy Mikovitz, the director of theaters and programming at both Johnson and Lyndon, has chosen acts within various genres to be featured this semester.

“I like to present a variety of genres and different things that will interest different people, and some things that’ll hopefully draw new audiences in and expose them to things they’ve never seen before,” Mikovitz said. Earlier this month, Mummenschanz, a theatre troupe formed in Switzerland, kicked off their fiftieth anniversary tour at Dibden on Oct. 13. Mummenschanz blends comedy with movement, for a surreal performance with masks and props.

For fans of classical music, Champlain Trio, a Vermont-based group formed during the pandemic comprised of Julliard alumni, performed on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. This group is also known for its documentary, “Empty Stages,” which shed light on how COVID-19 affected the arts, as well as giving watchers an overview of venues across Vermont.

Right before Halloween, NNAMDÏ, an up-and-coming Chicago based advent-pop artist, will be performing on Oct. 27 with a touring support act. “He’s going to blow the doors off this place with a live band,” Mikovitz said.

NNAMDÏ founded his own label, Sooper Records, and has released four albums since 2013.

On Nov 8, Faurë Quartett, a German group of chamber music visionaries, will be performing starting at 7 p.m. The quartet was founded in 1995, and has since performed internationally, being regarded as a pioneer in the piano quartet genre.

To end the fall semester season, internationally renowned comedienne Paula Poundstone will perform at 7 p.m. on Dec.16. The Emmy-winning comic is known for her wittiness, spontaneity, as well as her relatability. She has been performing since the 1980s, and has appeared on a variety of television specials and late-night talk shows. She is also a regular on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.

When asked about the budget for the semester, Mikovitz said it varies. “We pull from a number of funds, but Lecture and Arts is the committee that does the majority of the support,” he said.

He adds that there are other lecture and performance funds, such as Creative Audience class fees and the Friends of the Arts fund, which  help bring these acts to Northern Vermont University. Dibden also partners with Catamount Arts, which brings its KCP Presents series to NVU, including Mummenschantz and Paula Poundstone.

With these resources, Dibden is able to present these five-figure acts to give students the opportunity to see these performances for free. Putting on these shows, as well as making them run smoothly, requires a lot of coordination among the team, led by Mikovitz and production coordinator Jenna Knight. “I think a lot of communication between the two of us is a big part of that,” Knight said, referring to the most important aspects of putting on a performance.

Mikovitz and Knight hope that audience attendance picks up this semester, as more students are back on campus since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “You don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve seen it,” says Mikovitz.