The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

P.A.T. takes final bow

Goodbye messages by Dibden alumni and students
Gunter Kleist
P.A.T. program Alumni gathered on the Dibden Stage with Nevermore cast members at the end of their final performance.

With performances April 25-28, Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe was the Polaris Performing Arts Company’s final production under the umbrella of the Performance Arts and Technology Program. There will still be performances under the creative direction of part-time faculty, and students that are currently P.A.T. majors can continue their degrees. However, program offerings will no longer be up for grabs by the Fall 2024 semester.

The Johnson Campus, be it Johnson State College, Northern Vermont University, or Vermont State University, has been graced with over 56 years of professional-level opportunities in performing arts education. Vital talents made their presence known ensemble after music ensemble, theatrical crafts were challenged, and the closest of relationships were cultivated along the way.

On April 27, thirty alumni students were invited to a performance of Nevermore by Issac Eddy, current Chair of the Theater Department, who will be taking his leave at the end of the Spring 2024 semester, complete with a late-night gala celebration. What came next? The Basement Medicine team invited these alumni, as well as cast and crew members of Nevermore, to submit note cards with open monologues on their memories of the P.A.T. program.

Graduating in May 2024, Hattie Ebling has been known for her work as President of VTSU-Johnson’s Dance Club, as well as with Dibden Stage’s Tech Crew, Varsity Tennis, and ResLife as a Resident Assistant at Arthur Hall.

“I have been a part of Dibden since Fall 2020,” said Ebling. “Since then, I have gained so much knowledge about theatre and technical theatre thanks to Issac, Tim, Laura, and Jenna Knight. I have been part of tech crew, stage manager, lighting designer, production manager, et cetera, on many shows here. I will cherish all my fond memories here, from staying in Dibden and building sets until 3 a.m., to dancing in Danceland! Dibden will be a big part of my life.”

James Stowell is based in Albany, NY, and graduated in 2023 with concentrations in acting and theatrical tech.

“I loved being here,” Stowell wrote. “It was a place that gave me a lot of inspiration and hope for the future. I remember I was cleaning blood onstage during intermission and had to raise the green curtain. My legs were all that could be seen, and they became a meme.”

Victoria Monarrez is based in Randolph, Vt.

“I graduated in 2022 and I had to go through so much,” Monarrez wrote. “COVID lost so many things. If I did not have the arts, I would not have known what I would’ve done. If the arts did not exist, I wouldn’t have even gone to college. It is so important to me, and I wish others understood how important it is and that it is a huge mistake to get rid of something as important as this. It brings people together for enjoyment, creativity, and hopefulness. Please bring the arts back! It gives so many people happiness and joy!”

Having graduated in 2013, Marcus Provost is another alumni student with long-lasting professions in acting, singing, dancing, and directing.
“JSC gave me so much,” said Provost. “So many shows, songs, opportunities, and lifelong friends. To this day, I am a professional non-union actor, singer, and dancer.”

“I attended JSC from 2010-2014 and it became my home,” said Angela Hunt, a 2014 graduate. “The energy and love that all the students had for the arts captivated me and allowed me to blossom. I originally grew up in Maine but moved to the Upper Valley to be closer to lifelong friends that I worked with in Dibden. I graduated with a degree in Jazz/Contemporary Vocal Performance. While at JSC, I played and sang in multiple groups. I performed as Pippin’s grandmother in the final show for my graduating class. Many meals were spent at gathering tables in the dining hall with all majors from Dibden. We will forever be the Dibdenites! I love you all and this is a gut-wrenching pain to have these programs removed!”

In April, Outgoing Department Chair Issac Eddy wrote a final goodbye honoring the plethora of emotions that come with the program’s leave.
He wrote, “Since College President Arthur J. Dibden built this beautiful theater in 1967, it has housed full-time performing arts faculty to run performing arts programs. Tragically, that era ends after this semester. VTSU is cutting all performing arts programs on the Johnson campus which means my tenure is over this May. Thankfully, ensembles will still continue to rehearse and perform, we will still have part time faculty direct mainstage dramatic and musical productions, and we will “teach-out” the remaining Performance, Art, and Technology students.

“The shift, though, will be a campus with no students majoring in performing arts and no professors who are salaried to oversee its vital presence. I want to honor all of the students, faculty, and guest artists who have filled this stage, these practice rooms, and studio classrooms with such expressive, transformative, and revolutionary art for so many years. A strain of all of those performances still resides in these walls and on the boards of this stage. A strain of all of these performances resides in the Nevermore musical production which is going up this month.

“I give my deepest thanks to Laura Roald and Kenny Grenier who poured their artistic direction into this production even amidst such tumult on our campus. Thank you, Tim Mikovitz, for managing our theatre so well and continuing to bring in world class performers. I also am so proud and grateful for our students. Thank you for marking this end of an era with such a powerful exclamation point. You have learned too young that fighting for our existence is sometimes a part of the life of a performance artist. Fight on.”

From front to back (left to right): Liam Ryan, Zib Miller, Heike Chaney, Wilbur Hayes, Jill Pressman, Mia Burger, Taylor Michaud, James Kalbfleisch, Rowan Albee, Emily LaRose, and Paxton Getty. (Gunter Kliest)
Cast members in rehearsal of the previous Fall 2023 production Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. (Owen Whitney)
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About the Contributor
Heike Chaney
Heike Chaney, Staff Writer, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Transfer Student, Interdisciplinary Studies (Theatre & Communications) Based in Hartford, VT Fall 2023-Present SLAP Coordinator & DANCELAND Club Member I can do a shockingly good Judy Garland impression, and I have been in over 22 Theatre productions since the sixth grade! ;) Favorite Roles: Adela Van Norman (THE IT GIRL); Martha Cratchitt (A CHRISTMAS CAROL); Chutney Wyndham (LEGALLY BLONDE).

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